The FTOTZ Mix Club, formerly the Fametracker Mix Club, is now the Snarkfest Mix Club! Find us at over at Snarkfest.


Frequently Asked Questions about the FTOTZ Mix Club

Here’s everything you need to know about the mix exchange club run on the FTOTZ boards. If you have a question that’s not addressed here, e-mail me and I’ll add it to this list.

• What is the FTOTZ Mix Club?
It is a way to share and expose music that we love through the wonderful, magical medium of mix tapes and mix CDs. In each round, a participant is assigned a mixee, cooks something up for him/her, and mails it off. Meanwhile, someone else is preparing a mix in return. Then everyone meets on the boards and to discuss the mixes.

• Who can join the Club?
Anyone who is registered to the FTOTZ forumer boards. You don’t have to have made 1,000 posts or anything – you don’t have to post anywhere besides the Club thread. But you do need to be a member. If you have any trouble signing up/getting validated, please e-mail me and I'll sort it out. (Unfortunately, auto-validation no longer works on the site, so I need to notify a mod that someone new has signed up for the validation to go through.)

• I thought it was based at the FTOTZ forums. What’s this about Fametracker?
The Club originally started at the discussion boards of Fametracker, but those were closed down in 2005 and the Club moved to FTOTZ. You don’t need to have been involved back then to join now. But as I say, you do need to be registered to FTOTZ.

• Who runs this Club? Is it one of the FTOTZ moderators?
Hi, I’m Cassie and I run it. I’m a member of FTOTZ but not a mod.

• I’ve heard of this Mix Club thing, but I thought someone called azucar ran it. What happened to her? And what about that British guy?
azucar created the Mix Club in 2002, and ran it brilliantly until she turned the reins over to the charming Masticator in 2006. And now the honor has passed to me (although I've kept Masticator's FAQ, which you are now reading). Both former Club Czars frequent the boards and should be treated with hushed reverence.

• How do I join the Club?
Send me an e-mail. In your e-mail, include the following:
• Your FTOTZ name
• Your mailing address (including your government name)
• Whether you will send a tape or a CD
• Whether you can accept tapes
• Whether you are able to ship to a country other than your own
• Any other information that may be relevant
Please use "FTOTZ" in the subject line. If you follow all these instructions, you’ll get a confirmation e-mail from me within 24 hours. If it’s been more than 24 hours since you e-mailed me and you have not heard from me, I probably didn’t get your message. Try again.

• Does it cost anything to join the Club?
No, it’s free. You’ll need to spend money on media and postage, but there are no fees. Donations are gratefully welcomed, though.

• You might be some kind of evil mastermind. How do I know that you won’t use my personal details to sign me up for illicit activities or have me sent to Guantanamo or something?
Guilty conscience much? I promise I won’t give out any information to nefarious people who are not in the Club. I won’t even give your info out to FTOTZers who are not in the Club. I would only give your e-mail address to another person in the Club, and then only for Club-related purposes. If you don’t want me to give out your e-mail address for any reason or only with your explicit permission, please let me know.

• I don’t have a CD burner. Can I still be in the Club?
If you can make a tape, you can be in the Club. I’ll match you up with someone who did not specify that he or she only wanted a CD.

• I can’t ship internationally. Am I a terrible person?
No, you’re not. It’s fine. Obviously shipping internationally is more expensive, and the Club does not want to place an unnecessary financial burden on anyone. That said, if you live outside of the US, there is a limited pool of people to send your mixes to.

• I do live outside the US. Is it OK if I join?
Of course! But you will probably be sending out of country. Please join up, anyway! We like the Club to be as international as possible. I once got a four-disc mix from a member in Norway and it was full of music I would never, ever have heard otherwise, which is what the Club is all about.

• I’ve just joined the Club. How do I let others know that I exist?
You should post something in the Mix Club thread in the Music, Movies and Television forum. Just a simple self-introduction to other members will do. You should also consider posting in some of the music topics in that forum. This will give anyone who’s making a mix for you an idea of what type of music you’re into, so he or she can plan your mix accordingly.

• How do I know when it’s all happening and when to send a mix and who to send it to and everything?
I’ll e-mail you every month asking if you want to take part in the upcoming round and if any of your details have changed. Then, if you get back to me by the stated deadline, I’ll e-mail you the details of the person you’re to send a mix to.

• I missed the deadline by an hour! Can I still be in this round?
Sorry, but we can’t let the deadlines slide. That way madness lies. But you’re not kicked out of the Club, don’t worry – you can join in again next month.

• What kind of music should I put on my mix?
Whatever you like. The first rule of Mix Club is: there are no rules for the mixes. The second rule of Mix Club is: there are no rules for the mix – no, sorry. The second rule of Mix Club is: no smoking.

• Why aren’t we allowed to smoke?
I don’t know.

• What are you talking about?
That’s a gag from the TV show Spaced, an excellent show that you should find on DVD and watch immediately.

• Oh, right. You’re some kind of cultural snob then? Well, now I’m intimidated, because I don’t think my music taste is cool enough.
The Mix Club is absolutely, definitely, totally, overwhelmingly not about whose music taste is the coolest. What’s mainstream to you might be esoteric to someone else. Mainstream artists in your country may be virtual unknowns in another country. So don’t worry about being cool.

• I see that some people have themes for their mixes. Does my mix have to have a theme?
Of course not! If you like mixes with themes, great. If you don’t, that’s great too.

• But do you ever have themed rounds that encourage people to make a mix on a particular theme?
Yes. The theme is always something general that can be interpreted in a number of ways. However, it is not necessary to do the theme in order to participate in that round. It’s only for the people who want the challenge.

• I’m a big fan of UK hip hop and the whole grime scene. But I’ve no idea if the person I’m making the mix for likes it. Can I make a mix full of Kano, Roots Manuva, Skinnyman and Dizzee Rascal for them?
You can indeed. You’re more than welcome to send out your own personal favourites every month. But it’s worth sending something you think the person will listen to at least once. You could search through your person’s posts to gauge their musical tastes. You could even send two mixes: one of UK hip hop and one of other stuff. Basically you can send what you like, but remember – an unlistened-to mix is an unhappy mix. I just came up with that. Good, isn’t it?

• I can’t stand that song You’re Beautiful by James Blunt. It makes me want to kick puppies. Can I request that no-one puts it on a mix for me?
Believe me, I understand where you’re coming from, but no. Well, you can make the request on the boards, but that doesn’t guarantee you won’t get the song on your mix. Remember the first rule of Mix Club? As a matter of fact, if I was making a mix for you and saw that request, I’d probably put it on there just to annoy you. Twice. Heh.

• I heard that one Mix Club member is into Ukrainian Gypsy folk music. Can you match me up with that person so I can get a Ukrainian Gypsy folk music mix?
No. That ain’t how it works, my friend. But if you want to e-mail or PM that person and arrange an exchange of Ukrainian Gypsy folk music mixes (or whatever) outside the regular Club round, there’s nothing to stop you. This happens quite often and the mixes are usually called "extracurricular" ("EC" for short).

• I have sensitive ears/very conservative parents/small children who must be shielded from filth. Can you tell my person to keep my mix clean?
I suppose so. But that’s it. No other musical requests.

• Does my mix need to have fancy-schmancy artwork?
No. You can be as creative or non-creative as you want. Just make sure that the track listing can be easily found and is legible.

• How long should the mix be?
You should aim to fill up as much of your chosen media as possible. If you’re sending a 74-minute CD-R, for example, you should try to fill up as much of that 74 minutes as possible. If you want to send more than that, you can make a two-CD mix. Or whatever. It is, and you may be getting this message by now, entirely up to you.

• Do I need to convert any MP3s to audio files?
The who in the what now? This isn’t the IT department, nerd! Seriously, if you’re sending a CD, you just need to send something that will play in a standard CD player.

• How do you decide who is sending a mix to which person?
It’s a long and complicated process that’s impossible to perform without one of those NASA supercomputers. Nah – it’s random. I’ll try to ensure you’re not sending to the same people again and again, though.

• It seems like it’s time for another round, and I read on the boards that you e-mailed everyone. I checked my e-mail and I didn’t receive a name. What’s up with that?
I won’t have left you out deliberately – this is either a mistake on my part or a problem with e-mail. If you think you’ve been missed out and want to be included, e-mail me or send a PM through the FTOTZ boards. I’ll make abject apologies and include you in the round.

• I have the name and mailing address of my person. Should I reveal who my person is before I send out my mix?
Like a university professor having an affair with a student, it’s not against the law or anything, but it’s definitely frowned upon. It is supposed to be a surprise, after all. It’s a bit like Secret Santa, except you get lots of lovely music except some rubbish grooming products from people at work you don’t like.

• Is there a deadline for getting this mix out?
I’ll always let you know the deadline in my e-mails, and it will also appear at the top of the FAQ. If for some reason you can’t meet this deadline, please e-mail me.

• Is there a prize for getting my mix out in time?
No. Only the unstinting respect of the other Club members.

• Do I need to put my mix in a padded envelope?
It’s a good idea. Especially if you spend a lot of time an effort on the CD artwork. It’s really annoying when you get a great mix with beautiful, lovingly crafted artwork that’s all cracked because it’s been bashed up by the postal service. (Even more annoying is getting a great mix with beautiful, lovingly crafted artwork that’s perfectly intact, then dropping something on it and cracking it. Believe me.) Padded envelopes help to avoid this. I would never advise stealing them from your place of employment, though. Never.

• I sent my mix and it should have arrived by now, but I haven’t heard anything. Should I be worried?
It’s possible that your mixee has just forgotten or been unable to acknowledge receipt of the mix. Perhaps he or she is away or ill or something. Unfortunately we’ve no way of knowing unless they tell us. If your person hasn’t posted within a reasonable time, you can post a gentle reminder, or contact him or her privately through e-mail or PM, or e-mail me and I can contact him or her. You should not go into the Mix Club thread and whine that you sent a mix to [FTOTZer X] and they better RECOGNIZE otherwise they’re a big bastarding BASTARD! That’s not what the Mix Club is about.

• My mix has arrived! Should I publicly thank my person?
YES!!! You can post a message of thanks and the tracklisting to the Mix Club thread. Acknowledging the person who has made your mix is the right thing to do. And the person who has received yours should do the same.

• Do I need to post the tracklisting for my mix on the boards?
You won't get kicked out the the Club for not posting the tracklisting, but please, please do. People like to read them. It’s all part of the fun! Besides, your mixer will want to see what you liked about the mix. It’s only polite.

• My mix has arrived, but there was no indication of which FTOTZer it was from. Is it OK if I just say their real name on the boards and hope that he or she steps forward?
No! Some people do not want their real names used on the forum, and we should respect their wishes. Say something like: ‘I got my mix today, and I don’t know who it’s from, but thank you, whoever you are.’ They’ll probably realise their mistake and claim responsibility at that point. If they don’t, and it’s really bugging you, remember that I assigned you to them, so you can e-mail me and find out.

• It’s past the deadline and I haven’t received my mix yet. What’s going on, dammit?
There could be any number of reasons. The most likely is slow mail. Let me know, and I’ll send the person a polite e-mail. If there’s a real problem, we’ll try to work something out.

• Uh… I completely failed to send out my mix in time. I wasn’t a terrible person in that question above, but now I am, aren’t I?
Yes. You’ve let me down, you’ve let the Mix Club down, but most of all you’ve let yourself down. No, it’s OK. Send it as soon as you can. If for some reason you are unable to send a mix at all, let me know, and I’ll ensure that the person gets an ‘orphan mix’ next time around. If you offend repeatedly, though, you won’t be able to participate any more.

• Hold it! What’s this ‘orphan mix’ thing, buster?
An orphan mix is a mix for someone who has not received a mix from their regular person. Sometimes unexpected things happen which cause people not to be able to send their mix. Orphan mixes ensure that everyone gets a mix. If someone is in need of an orphan mix, I’ll pick a Club member at random (as long as they have indicated that they are happy to send an orphan mix) and get them to send one.

• I’ve received a mix and I hate it. Should I tell the person?
Well, it’s up to you, but you’re not going to make yourself very popular like that. By all means post a detailed critique of the mix stating exactly what you liked and didn’t like about it. Several members do this regularly (they know who they are). But remember that someone has spent time and effort creating this mix and it’s not their fault that your musical taste isn’t the same as theirs. Be diplomatic.

• Isn't there an Audioscrobbler group connected to this Club?
Yes, there is, here. You can join it. azucar still runs that.

• Am I automatically registered to participate in every round of the Mix Club?
If you’ve e-mailed me to join or you participated in the past six months, you will receive a short survey a few days after each mailing deadline, and one of the questions will be whether or not you want to participate in the next round. If you tell me that you do – and you get the survey back to me before the stated deadline – you’re in. If I do not hear from you at all, I will assume that you do not want to be in the next round. If I don’t hear from you for three months, you’ll be dropped from the Club altogether. You’ll have to e-mail me your details again if you want to rejoin. If you don’t want to be in the next round but still want to stay in the Club, I still want to hear from you. This will prevent you from being removed from the Club.

Mixes pictured by Cassie, derhay and Sgt Howie.