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Why we loved Mixcrate and Where to next?

With Mixcrate gone, lovers of music either have to pony up a fee for a variety of streaming services
or head over to YouTube
There are two types of music listeners: those who listen by artist or by album, and those who listen by top hits. The second lot of us do not care much about what other music made it to an album besides the top 2 hits.


Mixcrate served the second lot of us very well. You could search for a song title or an artist, and you would have dozens of DJ mixes to choose from which contained more than the one hit you searched for.


Listening to music on Mixcrate also meant that once you settled into a mix, you had uninterrupted music for the next one hour.



Well, to be fair, other services such as YouTube and Apple Music offer similar services too. The difference, however, is that these tend to assume you want to listen to the same artist or a selection very similar to the artist you just listened too.


YouTube, you will find, tends to return to the top pop music of today after a while. And then, there are the adverts, most of them boring.


For those who love diversity, Mixcrate was the perfect service.


I refer to Mixcrate in the past tense for it is no more. One of the record labels in the West has had the service shut down due to copyright infringement.


Mixcrate allowed DJs to upload any song in their mixes. The service was free meaning that it had no money either to pay the uploader or the rights owner of the music. Therefore, it was only a matter of time before Mixcrate found itself facing such a legal battle, which based on what has happened to other music sharing sites before, they would probably lose.


One of Mixcrate’s strength was that it had a wide selection of local music and other African music that you will not find on the Apple Music’s and Amazon Music’s of this world.


Kenyan music suffers from poor discoverability as one has to rely on radio, club DJs or perhaps YouTube to discover new music. The local music streaming services are fragmented and comparatively offer a small selection. Secondly,  few people may be willing to pay a subscription fee for such services, even be it as low as KSh. 500 like Apple Music offers.


Most other international music services such as Spotify and Google Music remain “not available in your region” in Kenya. Amazon Music too is not available,  though one can use the service if you “sideload” the app from sources such as apkmirror.com. The same can’t be said for Google Music.


For local music (Kenyan/East African hits) lovers, the top apps are Mziiki and Waabeh.


Mixcrate would have been a perfect addition to a service like Apple Music since it would allow you to listen to the same music but in a mix performed by a DJ. Apple does have playlists made by its users,  to which you can listen to, but they mostly have modern music and are nothing close to what Mixcrate offered.


It is crucial to note that US technology firms including Amazon, Apple and Google,  who also offer the top music services globally are moving towards having algorithms, or computer programs, customise music based on your taste.


However, as I have noted, these algorithms do not offer a wide diversity and tend to restrict you to a few songs that you may have listened at the start. These have been common problems faced by algorithms, for they can’t determine that if you are 32 years old and listen to Drake, you may have listened to 50 Cent or Nelly in the early 2000s. Perhaps, as technology advances, this challenge will be solved.


As for now, if looking for free music,  head over to Deezer (App) or YouTube. Other locally available alternatives are Apple Music for international music and Waabeh and Mziiki for local music.

Update - use Mixcloud
Months later, the consensus is Mixcloud has emerged as the closest alternative to Mixcrate, aith almost as broad a selection.

They even have a mobile app - but watch the battery consumption, the app appears to consume battery even when not in use.

Also, to search for specific music on Mixcloud, do so from Google or duckduckgo. Type the phrase site:mixcloud.com song eg site:mixcloud.com sorry justin bieber. This is better than using Mixcloud's own search. 

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