In June 2004, Mercedes-Benz launched Mixed Tape, a free compilation of “the latest artists and new talents” handpicked for the Mercedes-Benz driving experience. For eleven years, the Mixed Tapes would be released every eight weeks for free on Soundcloud, iTunes and eventually Spotify. Then, on 11 August 2015, Mercedes-Benz announced that day’s hour of music would be the company’s last.
Music for Mercedes-Benz
Now would-be fans of the Mixed Tapes can only find the last two compilations, Mixed Tapes 62 and 63, as well as a few of the off-week songs Mercedes-Benz also streamed. Mercedes-Benz’s Mixed Tapes do not have a Wikipedia page and we could find no news articles on the end of the service. Readers may assume, then, that the service was simply unpopular, but this doesn’t seem to be so. In 2013, the Mercedes-Benz Mixed Tape Facebook page had 20,000 likes, no mean feat, and today, two years after the last compilation, the page has over 107,000 fans.
Where are the Mixed Tapes now?
In 2008, Mercedes-Benz took the Mixed Tape further than a bi-monthly playlist, with their Mixed Tape Magazine. Internet archaeologists have more luck here. The magazine had blog posts (some archived) and a number of YouTube videos on artists’ biographies and spotlights, film clips and interviews. Other than on YouTube, most of the Mixed Tape playlists, blog posts (the blog was started in 2010 and out of this grew the e-magazine), artist profiles, track listings, songs and videos have disappeared. If you find a link to one of these pages from the Facebook group, Soundcloud or otherwise online, you’ll be redirected to Mercedes-Benz’s homepage. In other words, on the Mercedes-Benz website, the service has been removed.
Why did Mercedes-Benz make the Mixed Tapes?
In 2010, Mercedes-Benz started using unique cover art from up-and-coming visual artists to match the mood of the playlist and the feel of the drive. The mission of the Mixed Tapes was to supply Mercedes-Benz drivers with a “handpicked” compilation of “the latest artists and new talents” form around the world, “reflecting the affluence of great music”. It was to be the best soundtrack for the road and the cover art was to reflect this.
In 2004, mp3s were taking over. iPods and mp3 players made it easier than ever before for people to make their own playlists. And with pre-Spotify streaming services, music from around the world was at the doorstep. Mercedes-Benz wanted to share their musical discoveries from around the world with their drivers around the world. And by making it free, it was an early attempt at thwarting the growing trend of online music piracy.
So what happened?
Mercedes-Benz don’t seem to have revealed why they stopped their Mixed Tapes. iTunes, Soundcloud and Facebook all only say that Mixed Tape #63 would be the last. On the Facebook group, drivers from Germany, Canada, Uganda, Australia and the rest of the world expressed their disappointment that there would be no more downloads. A number of them say that the Mixed Tapes died because of the change in format – whereas once each song was available separately in the playlist, the newer delivery system of a single 50-minute chunk made it much harder to skip, save or repeat tracks. With no official reason being released, however, we can only speculate on the reason Mercedes-Benz stopped the tracks in their tracks, and why they have removed so much content surrounding the playlists from the internet.
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