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Something for Nothing


The streaming music site Muxtape has returned as a free platform for musicians to promote their music.
Emerging in a time when cassette tapes had long been an anachronism, Muxtape became a go-to site for music fans to string together their favorite songs and share the virtual mix tapes with friends and internet passers-by. Founded in early 2008, the site quickly became ensnared in licensing disputes and was shut down last August.
In its new life, Muxtape still lets users create their own mix tapes. Only now, the tracks users select from will be legally licensed for streaming — and not for download.
Will more visitors use the site as a substitute for buying music or as a way to sample music they will later buy?
One recent study found that free, sanctioned streaming of TV shows actually increased the number of hours people spent watching network programming, combining traditional TV viewing and streams from official network sites.
Downloading, both legal and illegal, has long been the focus of the debate over digital music. But what impact will streaming sites like Muxtape have on the future of the music industry?