Muxtape as a model for an anti-recommendation engine

Muxtape has my attention.

It’s not terribly social. It’s not much of a network.

In fact, it’s so devoid of features, there’s little to distract you from listening to music, which is what you showed up to do.

The front page of the site is dead simple: A colorful list of mixtapes to listen to, with relatively opaque usernames that offer only hints of what might be behind the link.

The front page of

So, at the start, if no one sent you a link to a particular mix, you’re just free to browse the tapes, listen to anything you want, find one with a familiar band’s name in it somewhere, and you’re off.

Talk about serendipity.

So, because I’m obsessed with thinking about how to present “news” online in unconventional ways that might hold a reader’s interest a little bit longer and keep them around your site long enough to find that enterprise/investigative/database piece you worked so hard at, it occurs to me that this could work for a news site.

Yeah, a news site.  What did you think I was going to say?

So, instead of the recommendation-engine driven approach of a Digg or an Amazon or Netflix, or even network-based link firehoses like Delicious, Facebook, or Twitter, this would take a purely serendipitous approach:

A user shows up, adds 10 links to a mix, gives it a clever name, and moves on.  No bulky profiles, no following, no activity feeds; just 10 good stories, as if they were a mixtape.

Sounds like a serious timesink to me…

2 thoughts on “Muxtape as a model for an anti-recommendation engine”

  1. Is StumbleUpon not serendipitous enough? I click a “Stumble!” button and a page comes to me at random. I make it stumble just the news category and bam — a random story.

    It’s very hard to picture what your idea is here as it relates to news. So let me try and replicate your vision: A website that features a random list of user names will link to their top 10 favorite news articles of the day, for example. Would this be average readers or would this cater to news junkies? Help explain a little further.


  2. @Suzanne – I like StumbleUpon, but I like the idea of a mixtape of news – 10 links I like, today, or this week, or this month.

    As I move between Delicious and Google Reader, FriendFeed and Twitter, I find there are certain things that get lost in the flow of the river of news that I’d like to save for just a minute.

    Yesterday, it might have been a mix of stories that explain waterboarding. Delicious saves them permanently with a tag for me, but what if I don’t need these permanently, but I just want to put up my little mix until I get inspired to make the next one?

    It’s definitely for news junkies. The same way that muxtape is for musix junkies, I expect.

    Anyway, it’s a fun thing to imagine playing with.


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