|Owner/Maintainer:||BackBeat Inc. (previously 8tracks Inc.)|
|Dates:||8 August 2008|
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8tracks.com is an internet radio and social networking website revolving around the concept of streaming user-curated playlists consisting of at least 8 tracks. Users create free accounts and can either browse the site and listen to other user-created mixes, and/or they can create their own mixes. Users who create playlists on 8tracks are known as "DJs".
Due to the Small Webcaster license that 8tracks operates under, their terms require playlists to be strictly "non-interactive" and the contents not known in advance:
An objective of the compulsory license is to ensure that a listener's experience is similar to traditional radio and essentially non-interactive (i.e., you can't hear a specific song when you want it), so as not to substitute for music purchase.
Hence, the rules of the compulsory license require that the sequence of playback cannot be pre-determined by a listener, and the listener may also not know what song he or she will hear next (i.e., no pre-announced playlist). Accordingly, a user cannot see the all of the songs included within a playlist at the outset and then fast-forward or rewind to songs of interest (which would make the service interactive). Similarly, there are limits on (a) the number of songs that can be included from any one artist or any one album on a given channel or playlist within a 3-hour period, and (b) the number of tracks that can be skipped per hour on a given channel.At 8tracks, we feel that there's something unique and compelling in handcrafted programming — as with traditional radio in the 1970s, the mixtape in the 1980s and DJ culture in the 1990s. One individual — the DJ — knows music well and introduces a set of listeners to it. This does not require an on-demand experience, and in fact, typically precedes it, as listeners discover and acquire those tracks they enjoy. (8tracks will shortly provide links to Amazon so listeners can purchase the music they like.)
On 26 December 2019, 8tracks co-founder David Porter announced the site's impending closure on 31 December, due in large part to its ongoing financial issues and failure to earn enough revenue. Users of the site were sent emails with the metadata for their playlists so that they could recreate them on another website.
8tracks & Fandom
8tracks was a widely-used platform for fanmixes and fan soundtracks throughout the 2010s, particularly during its heyday prior to 2014 (when it started to lose listenership to Spotify and financial troubles began to bite). Fans would create playlists for a particular character, ship, or fandom, create mixes inspired by a particular fanwork, and even create playlists designed to evoke a specific trope, AU, or theme. Some fanfic authors used 8tracks to publish a definitive mix for their fanwork, and invited readers to create and share their own.
Original character mixes (or OC mixes) were also popular.
The decreasing popularity of 8tracks around 2014 seems to coincide with a general decrease in the prominence of fanmixes, likely from lack of an easily accessible way to share them.
Notable Fannish Playlists on 8tracks
- You'd fit my lonely arms so perfectly (Archived link) by citrusfluegel, a playlist for the popular Haikyuu fanfic of the same name.
- Pacific Rim: Anthology (Archived link) by irisbleufic, a playlist for the Pacific Rim fic series Anthology, created by the author.
- Dirty Laundry (Archived link) by moon.prince, a playlist designed to recreate the CD Keith makes for Lance in the Voltron fanfic Dirty Laundry.
- ★so, you wanna be a magic girl?★ (Archived link) by maria baldi, a Akemi Homura (Puella Magi Madoka Magica) playlist .
- I WANT LIGHTS// (Archived link) by taffer, a Desmond Miles (Assassin's Creed) playlist
- one man bomb squad (Archived link), a Delsin Rowe (inFAMOUS) playlist
- she always does her best to please (Archived link) by politicalmamaduck, a Padme Amidala (Star Wars) playlist
- KORRASAMI VICTORY MIX (Archived link) by piscinepatel, a playlist celebrating korrasami becoming canon, using the "We poppin the BIGGEST bottles" meme as its cover.
- I don't hate you, I just want to save you (Archived link) by amor13, a popular Swan Queen playlist.
- a perfect match (Archive link) by durinsday, a Victuuri playlist
On 26 December 2019, 8tracks co-founder David Porter published a post entitled 'To Everything There Is a Season' to the 8tracks blog, announcing that 8tracks would cease streaming on 31 December 2019. In it he outlined the reasons for 8tracks' impending closure, including its difficulties with generating revenue to cover the cost of royalties, and the insurmountable competition it faced from services like Spotify, YouTube and Amazon Music. The post also stated that 8tracks would be making it easy for users to export their playlist metadata from the site, including by sending them an email with the mix name, art, description and track list for each of their published playlists, and by enabling them to export playlists to Spotify.
Between January 1 and January 18, 8tracks still functioned in a way, with a newly added "Play via YouTube" function. 8tracks is scheduled to completely shut down on January 18, 2020.
Following the announcement, fans expressed their sadness and anger over 8tracks' closure, and shared nostalgic recollections of the site's heyday. Many were unsurprised by the closure, noting that 8tracks had been unstable for some time and had also been unavailable to users outside the USA and Canada.
um 8tracks is shutting down????? and i’m so sad about it????…..i know it wasn’t like the best platform for listening to music but i love so many playlists on there and the functionality to search for playlists via tags and artists is so much better than spotify and anyway i spent my formative teenage years making playlists on 8tracks so i’m just like…..mega sad about it#the end of the decade..the end of an era #8tracks #im so sadddd :( #i still used 8tracks :(
Oh jeez @8tracksI will miss you so much. I wish you'd given us more than FOUR DAYS WARNING during the holidays before shutting down the site? It's gonna take me a while to shift over my own fanmixes, let alone some favorites from people with long-deactivated accounts.
lrt is the saddest news....... my entire decade was defined by 8tracks. ive been making playlists there since 2011, and i had even more planned for the coming years. ive never stopped using it as a way to find new music, either. i dont know what i'll do now
i thought it was already down for a long time cause i remember not being able to use it anymore but holy shit rip 8tracks,, you were good to me back in 2012-2013
The fact that 8tracks is shutting down is truly upsetting to me. For years, I have created personal playlists on that platform and I’m very proud of them. On December 31st, all will be lost. Sure, I can export them all I want, but 8tracks had a special feeling, something that cannot be replicated with any other streaming service.
I guess this is truly goodbye.#8tracks #I'm so mad lmao
Attempts to save fandom playlists
After the announcement, many fans started looking for ways to preserve and archive the many fandom playlists found in the website.
Some fans saved the information of different playlists by hand, using the website's option to download the tracklist of a playlist in .txt format and saving the rest of the playlist's information using the Wayback Machine. Thanks to user ViddersAdmin (from vidders.net) an Excel VBA macro that extracts playlist info from playlist URLs was created and shared through social media . This made the process of saving the data easier.
On December 30th, Dreamwidth user wedonnotcare created a post on the site where fans "who are extracting URLs from tags (of any fandom!) on 8tracks before the closing of the site can post their progress in a comment to avoid extracting the same tags multiple times".
Alternatives to 8tracks
In the wake of the closure announcement, many fans focused on saving or recreating their playlists and others' on Spotify, as 8tracks made this straightforward to do. Several fans recommended transferring to playmoss, a playlist publishing website with very similar features to 8tracks, which permits users to build playlists using links from YouTube, Spotify and other platforms.
BackBeat Inc., a startup company comprised of dedicated 8tracks fans, acquired the 8tracks platform & brand early in 2020. On April 19, 2020, the site relaunched, with users again able to stream from the site and iOS app (if they had not deleted it), although users could not yet create new mixes and some songs were unavailable. BackBeat's goal is to restore the same functionality as before the initial shutdown.
- "Licensing". 8tracks. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
- To Everything There Is a Season, by David Porter via 8tracks blog. Published December 26, 2019 (Accessed December 27, 2019). Archived version.
- "fanmix" on GoogleTrends]
- Tweet by ThatAuntZelda, Archived version, posted December 27, 2019 (Accessed December 29, 2019).
- Looks like our good friend 8tracks is finally giving up the ghost. by naeshira via Tumblr. Published December 27, 2019 (Accessed December 29, 2019).
- PSA to anyone that hasn’t heard yet: 8tracks is shutting down at the end of the month (Dec 31st 2019), Archived version by symphoniclolita via Tumblr. Published December 28, 2019 (Accessed December 29, 2019).
- Lots of us got the 8tracks email today and are scrambling. There's a couple of things I've noticed so far., Archived version by meanderins0ul via Tumblr, published December 28, 2019 (Accessed December 29, 2019).
- PSA: 8tracks is shutting down by otw-fanlore and yahoo-geddon (Dec 30th, 2019)
- Huge news re 8tracks playlist information archiving, for anyone interested in relatively easily saving playlist information from any 8tracks fandom or other tag before 8tracks shuts down 12/31/19.
- um 8tracks is shutting down????? by cryptiidtea via Tumblr, published December 28, 2019 (Accessed December 29, 2019).
- Tweet by @ThatAuntZelda, posted December 27, 2019 (Accessed December 29, 2019).
- Tweet by @hellspawnmotel, published December 27, 2019 (Accessed December 29, 2019).
- Tweet by @dxrkshades, published December 29, 2019 (Accessed December 29, 2019).
- The fact that 8tracks is shutting down is truly upsetting to me. by complicatedmerary via Tumblr. Published December 28, 2019 (Accessed December 29, 2019).
- This is super sad to me because 8tracks is really good for like fandom content? by riounico via Tumblr. Accessed December 29, 2019.
- Tweet by @morizumishinobu, published December 28, 2019 (Accessed December 29, 2019).
- Post on Tumblr, published December 30, 2019 (Accessed January 1, 2020).
- Tweet by @ginxbo, published December 27, 2019 (Accessed December 29, 2019).
- Tweet by @heartrendered, published December 28, 2019 (Accessed December 29, 2019).
- Treichel, Jeff (19 April 2020). "Welcome Back, 8tracks!". 8tracks blog. Retrieved 27 August 2020.