This pre-packaged "DIY Mixtape Kit" is $69

Mixtapes are (supposedly) cool with the kids these days, so a company called 90s Time Machine is now selling what they present as a complete "DIY Mixtape Kit." The kit includes 4 blank cassette tapes, a "Portable, retro style shoebox cassette recorder and speaker" with "Retro style headphones," as well as what the company describes as "necessary cables" — which, based on the promotional images, appear to be a single 1/8" aux-to-1/8" aux cable.

As far as I can ascertain, this kit basically allows you to plug a newfangled Talkboy into your computer or phone via aux cable, then hit record while you run a Spotify playlist on your device. And there ya go! Instant mixtape! Sure, it's not quite the same as having to manually swap out each tape or CD that contains the individual songs you want to add to the mixtape; nor does it accurately recreate the high athleticism and artistry involved in hitting "stop" "play" and "record" at the right time so as to minimize or maximize the gaps between songs in order to make the most of your analog tape space. But I suspect that the aux cable will at least still introduce some level of generational loss to the audio fidelity, which is a crucial part of the mixtape aesthetic.

I do appreciate the idea that you can still sort-of gift these tapes to other people, though. One of my bandmates has a 9-year-old who trades cassette tapes with her grandfather, who has a veritable library of late 80s / early 90s gay club cassingles of songs that are otherwise impossible to find online. It's a nice bonding experience. I suppose you can use this DIY Kit to do something similar with bootleg tracks you find on YouTube?

The basic DIY kit — which include four 30-minute cassette tapes — currently goes for $69. I'm not sure if that pricepoint was chosen as a deliberate joke or not. You can swap in 60 minute tapes for another $5, or 90 minute tapes for $4 on top of that. You can also save $30 by sending in your playlist and having the company tape it to cassette for you — although this option does not come with headphones for some reason.

DIY Mixtape Kit [90s Time Machine]

The epic Venom banter mixtape, 1986
Lin-Manuel Miranda made a Hamilton mixtape
Magic of the mixtape