Once upon a time, the analog cassette tape was king. And for those that remember the time, chances are you might also recall having made a mixtape or two as well. Australian-based start-up venture Sharetapes is looking to recapture a little of that old-school magic, albeit with a modern twist, by launching a line of physical cards that you can load-up with playlists from websites like YouTube, Spotify and 8tracks. Users can then share their saved lists with other people’s smartphones using near-field communication (NFC) technology or quick response (QR) scanning codes.
Near-field communication on mobile devices is becoming ever more commonplace, and the potential for it to become an essential part of everyday life is huge. We are already tapping our bank cards against a screen at the supermarket checkout, and new examples of NFC-enabled products for use with smartphones, such as business cards and door locks are highlighting the innovative potential of the technology.
Sharetapes will send out your blank “tapes” in packs of five retro-styled cards. After registering with Sharetapes, users can then enter a link to their saved playlist from any of the supported sites, while also adding a unique code found on the back of each card. Hit “record,” and your mixtape is created.
Each business card-sized piece features an NFC chip on board and a QR code on the back for scanning when you are ready to share your playlists. While pretty much standard on newer Android, Windows and Blackberry phones, NFC support is lacking from iPhone and older smartphones – hence the inclusion of the QR scanning code. Tapping the card on an NFC enabled smartphone, or scanning the code, will take you straight to the saved playlist. Those without either method can go directly to the website and input the code to get the playlist.
Besides the idea of simply sharing music for recreational purposes, Sharetapes offers a convenient and interesting way for people to advertise themselves or a product to potential customers. For example, each tape might function as a business calling-card, loaded with links to digital, dynamic content that you can direct clients to.
As mentioned, Sharetapes come in packs of five, which are priced at AUD$6.99 (US$7.20 at time of publication).