When we have friends over for dinner, I spend hours painstakingly putting together playlists on my ipod. Having my tunes go down well is just as important to me as their reaction to my pulled pork sliders or chicken burgers.  Sometimes though, there’s just no time for making playlists. That’s when I  turn to 8tracks. is a fantastic site that allows you to stream music from just about every conceivable genre or artist. Barbecue playlist please. The name is no doubt inspired by those old school eight track players. What makes it so incredible is that all the content is user generated.  How it works is users sign up and create mixes from their personal collection, making sure these mixes are no less than eight tracks long.  So essentially it’s an online music sharing program.

8tracks believes handcrafted music programming trumps algorithms. Think radio in the 1970s, mixtapes in the 1980s, and DJ culture of the 1990s through today. DJs share their talent in taste making, providing exposure for artists. Listeners get a unique blend of word-of-mouth sharing and radio programming — long the trusted means for music discovery — on a global scale.

So how to get into this 8tracks business?

Firstly you’ll need to sign up. Once you’ve done that you create a profile. Okay, now for the fun part. Feel like listening to DJ Krush? Cool. Great choice. Just type it into the search bar. You’ll land on a page that profiles the artist. You’ll also see a bunch of user created mixes that feature music by DJ Krush. You can choose mixes based on amount of likes and listens or by artwork and title (which I tend to do). Now clicking on a mix doesn’t mean you’re immediately going to hear a DJ Krush song. You will however get to hear great mixes that feature his music and music like his. And herein lies the beauty.

Before clicking on the Beats?, Yes Please mix by Rio-Hiiragi, you had probably never heard of Damu The Fudgemunk.  Now that you’ve clicked on that mix,  you can check out other mixes by Rio-Hiiragi and choose to follow him.

Another great feature is the ability to buy the tracks you here on itunes or amazon or soundcloud.

There you have it. A fantastic new way to discover music. And never be without a playlist at a barbecue.

Be sure to visit or download the app and make your own mixes too.

Here are a few 8tracks mixes I’m digging at the moment:

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