Hello guys. I'm an old member of the forum, very active in the MX era, when my taste for Coldplay was in it's peak. Much has changed since then, including my no longer unconditional love for the band, since I don't like very much the music direction post MX era.
Although absent from this forum, I've since missed something I've loved a lot in my time here: The Mixtape Exchange.
The idea is so good, I love absolutely everything about it, the concept, the care of crafting a mixtape for another person, reading the reviews. Everything.
Recently I've done a 'micro-version' of this exchange with a friend of mine in a more 'modernized way', since the original Mixtape Exchange idea includes downloading the songs and removing it's metadata to hide it's name, artist(s) and album name. Long are the days of my multi-thousand downloaded mp3 music library, having moved to listening to music in cloud platforms (mainly Spotify).
Because of that I've tried to translate this new more modernized reality to the Mixtape Exchange dynamic, and I think I came with a pretty good attempt.
So I thought about returning to this forum to suggest this approach for the next/future/alternative Mixtape Exchanges to you guys and collecting feedback about it.
Yeah, a lot of text and no explanation yet, so let's go to the practical part. How does it work?
Well, from start, 2 requirements: using Google Chrome and having a Spotify subscription since otherwise it wouldn't be possible to play the songs in order, which in my view breaks a little the 'order importance' principle of the mixtape. We can discuss this more in the FAQ in the end of this explanation.
Chrome in this case is necessary since we'll be installing an extension called "Stylebot". This extension allows us to custom Spotify webplayer's CSS (basically the 'look' of the page) which allows us to hide the names of songs, artists and albums, while keeping the playlist name and cover, important to the mixtape.
So the preparation phase would include:
Installing Chrome's Stylebot extension;
Downloading a custom preset CSS I've written and importing to Stylebot;
Once done, if you open Spotify Webplayer, it should look like the image below:
No, the songs are not blurred because I want privacy lol. That's how they will look after applying the CSS. Note that not only the names are blurred but also uniform, that's because the CSS is edited to change the real names to "TRACK NAME", "ARTIST NAME" and "ALBUM NAME", to avoid long/short song names from being recognized. I've also hidden the name of the playlist creator under it's name as well as the "current playing" song near the player's controls and made the real album art black and blurred.
Once the webplayer look like this, the person can receive the link to the playlist, opening it exclusively on Webplayer, allowing them to listen to the playlist without revealing the songs.
So, method explained, let's clear some possible questions. FAQ Can this be done on phones?/Can I apply this method in my phone environment?
ANS: No, primarily because of the extension that needs to be installed on chrome, secondly because the CSS behaves differently on phones, so this only works in desktop for now. Can this be done on MAC?
ANS: I don't own a MAC but I think it should work if you're using Chrome since you should still be able to install extensions. Does this work only in Spotify?/Can I do this on my other music service subscription (Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon, YouTube Music)?
ANS: Theoretically it should be possible to mess up with other webplayers' CSS but since you need a subscription to have the service's full experience I think we should concentrate in only one service, so, since Spotify's the most used... So this means if I don't have a Spotify subscription I cannot take part in this kind of Mixtape Exchange?
ANS: Unfortunately, I think so. That's why I also suggested this can be an alternative Mixtape Exchange maybe. It will depend on the habits of this forum's people regarding to music services, which I'm very much alien since I left. If most use Spotify, we should be able to do it. In some countries though, Spotify offers 1/3 free months of trial so if you never tried it before you could subscribe to participate the Mixtape Exchange and then unsubscribe afterwards. Will my webplayer look like this forever?
ANS: No. The styles applied can be turned on/off anytime. You can turn it off after the Mixtape Exchange period is over. Does this work on Spotify app on Desktop/Spotify Windows App?
ANS: No. It's only possible on the webplayer environment since it's the only place I can apply custom styles to the elements. Isn't it possible that someone says it will apply the custom CSS but they don't apply/deactivate the CSS revealing the true contents of the songs?
ANS: Yes, it is. But even the regular Mixtape Exchange has it's flaws if the person REALLY wants to know which song it is before it's revealed (Shazam). It's virtually impossible to be 100% secretive about the songs. The participant should abide by the rules.
So, folks, I would like to know what you think. Feel free to ask any questions that weren't answered.