It used to be that these products in the 1990’s and early 2000’s could only be found at your local mom and pop’s stores or at the barber shop. These places of business would make purchases in bulk and sell them for a profit. This was done under the table since these products were never cleared of any copyright issues with the record companies. Some record store’s would also sell these under the counter or would give them away for free with the purchase of a retail album. This method would entice people to buy a retail album from the store in order to obtain a copy of a music compilation they wanted. They were originally circulated on cassette tapes, but as technology has evolved, the faster, cheaper and more efficient way to distribute these musical projects is on CD media. Just one computer tower containing 11 CD burners can produce up to 11 drops within a matter of minutes, so this method is very quick, easy, and consumes much less time than dubbing on cassettes. Eventually some of these business that were selling were raided by the RIAA and they faced hefty fines and possible jail time.
The internet is what made them as popular as they are today. These products began on the internet in 2002 and were distributed the same way as they were on the streets. Although a business on the internet is a little smarter on how to distribute them without facing any legal issues. Hard copies of mixtapes are still distributed on the internet today, as well as at your local mom and pop’s stores. Another way to obtain these music compilations is through digital download. This has become the most popular method for these products to be distributed. It is easy to do, the only wait time you have is based on your internet connection speed, almost always free to download, and best of all you never have to leave your house! This method helps to get an artist’s work to a ton of their fans quickly rather than take the time to produce and distribute hard copies. It is also much cheaper and faster to do it this way. Using this method, rap artists can obtain the feedback they are looking for much quicker and at a much higher rate. The only downside of digital downloads is that fans might put the artist’s hard work at their disposal and not have much appreciation for it. Where as if they took the time to obtain a copy from one of their local mom and pop’s outlets, they might appreciate the artist’s hard work more. There is also a downside to purchasing hard copies because you run the chance of the products being a bootleg and not being a legit copy of the music artist’s work. When you download these projects, there is no worry if it is a bootleg or not. Going on the internet is also a way to obtain free mp3s.