CURATING A MIXTAPE MASTERPIECE by Wes Davenport
*Wes Davenport has been in music marketing and promotion for over a decade, and in his free time is the playlist editor for No Country For New Nashville, as well as the founder of Playback and Popsquad*
Who’s listening & where will they be?
Think about who your playlist is for and where they’ll listen to it. A backyard birthday BBQ (complete with bounce castle) is a totally different mood than a life insurance seminar at the Liberty Conference Room.
Pick a theme and title
Here’s a few themes to pick from (on the house at absolutely no charge): a subtle (or explicit) admission of love for your crush, songs that remind you of your bestie, a couple’s “that’s so them” songs, a TV character’s hypothetical jams, a cool coffee shop vibe, spring/summer/fall/winter moods and a flight to Tokyo. As always, feel free to craft a mix of your own personal musical brand.
Some of our favorite playlist titles are indie girl rock with a bad attitude, songs that feel like floating down a river filled with stardust, Lovers Location and Kendall Roy’s 40th birthday party.
Generally stick to 10-50 songs
Nobody is going to throw your playlist out the window if it’s 51 songs instead of 50. Unless you put it on a Post Tape, it’s physically impossible to do that. However, that range is a helpful starting point to keep people listening all the way through. Of course, the song number can go sky high if you’re making something that will play all day at an event or during a nice, long roadtrip.
Bridge lesser-known gems with recognizable hits
Even the most new music discovery-obsessed listener will want to hear a familiar bop every now and then. Start with a statement song to get heads bobbing, tears flowing or booties shaking.
Consider the flow
You can keep the tunes running smoothly by tying together lyrical themes, tempo, energy, similar instruments or even a hidden message using all the song titles. It all goes back to who your playlist is for and where they’ll be listening!
Top it off with artwork
The playlist cover can be a Canva creation, a Photoshop masterpiece, an inside-joke meme or a simple photo from your camera roll.
Turn your mixtape into a Post Tape
Now that you’ve curated a playlist for a lucky person or unforgettable occasion, turn it into a Post Tape!