History of IMP
The International Mixtape Project was founded in November 2003 with 25 original members in three countries. The initial premise was that mixtaping had become an even more viable and relevant way to discover new music in the digital age of downloading. Although file-sharing increased access to known music and decreased the market share of major-label music companies, it couldn't replicate or replace the visceral experience of making and trading mixtapes. Why settle for hijacking the odds and ends of a stranger's hard drive when you could ask that same stranger for a compilation of his or her favorite songs in a cohesive, smart, lovingly compiled mix?
The small group of original IMPers, many of whom were music reviewers and bloggers, quickly realized how meaningful the project had become in their lives and how much fun it was to send mixes to and receive mixes from absolute strangers. Although some had previously given up mixtaping around the same time automakers stopped including tape decks in new cars, and others had only picked up the hobby after CD burners became standard computer hardware, every member had a story about music that merited repeat in the form of a mixtape. The International Mixtape Project stopped being a conduit through which people simply traded CDs and tapes and became a vital mechanism for cultural exchange, interpretation of art, and recontextualization of consumer media according to a long-practiced system of do-it-yourself values and aesthetics. More importantly, every IMPer seemed to have at least one friend who couldn't wait to join the fun.
By mid-2004, the International Mixtape Project had grown to over 100 members. As a result of media attention and coverage in innumerable blogs, IMP membership has grown at a rate of 10 to 50 percent every month since mid-2005 and now includes more than 1200 members from 30 countries on six continents. With the launch of the IMP website in January 2007, the International Mixtape Project officially established itself as the most visible and exciting community of mixtapers in the world.