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Posted Dec. 1, 2011 by Get Right Music

How To: Properly Zip A Mixtape For Free

As much as I can’t stand .zip files for mixtapes and albums, they are still prevalent in digital hip hop music.

For those who don’t know, a .zip file is 1 file that can hold multiple files. Some may call it an archive or a compressed file. Don’t worry, even major artists do not properly tag and present their mixtape releases. An online hip hop phenomenon that continues to puzzle me. Popular for sharing hip hop mixtapes and free music releases, .zip files hold the artist’s mp3 files, as well as other associated information and content. This article will walk you through the proper ways to zip your mixtapes so that you can get a little added promotion and exposure online. As with any tool, there are free ways and paid ways to get the job done. I will explain the free method in this how to. Fyi, this tutorial is geared towards Macintosh users.

Before we get to the technical side of actually zipping a mixtape, let's discuss the most important part, which is what content should live inside your archived .zip file.

An example:

You just finished finalizing the songs for your mixtape and you have the folder of mp3 files on your computer’s hard drive. First and foremost, make sure that your mp3 files have been properly tagged in iTunes with the correct meta data for: artist, artwork, album title, genre, track number, etc.. After you tag the mp3 files, find them on your hard drive (typically in your computer’s music folder) and place them in a properly labeled folder. 

Now we can move on and add the extra pieces of content to be zipped to make your mixtape stand out from the rest. Listed below are some examples you should include.

1. Include high-resolution versions of the mixtape artwork. This can simply be the front cover, but best practice would be to include a front and back cover as well as extra related artwork such as logos, alternate covers, and even media kit photos of the artist. Put all of these images into a folder named “Images” or “Artwork” inside the mixtape folder with your mp3 files.

2. Include the mixtape’s tracklisting in a text document labeled “Mixtape Tracklist.” This is very helpful for fans and bloggers to use when writing a review online about your music. The easier you make things for journalists, the easier they will have when writing about it. Which will increase the likelihood of your mixtape getting exposure. Bonus tip: include the production credits as well.

3. Include a text document or media kit that contains links to where more information can be found about the artist. For example links to the artist’s website, fan site, Twitter profile, Facebook page, YouTube channel, etc... A small step that is immensely helpful.

4. Include any exclusive content. This is an added treat that is always nice to find when unzipping an artist’s mixtape. It could be bonus songs, a free download link, a discount code to merchandise, etc... This is not so much necessary, but why not and it will definitely help fans remember your name after they download your music.

Once you have the items organized in your mixtape folder (see image example below) you’re ready to move on and actually zip the mixtape into 1 file.

The free way to compress and .zip a folder on an Apple computer:

When you CONTROL CLICK on the top level mixtape folder on your computer, a mini menu appears and you can: Compress “The name of your mixtapes folder”

Once you do that a .zip file will be created next to the mixtape’s folder, titled the same, but with the added .zip suffix. See image below.

That’s it! Now you can take that .zip file of your mixtape, upload it around the web and share it online. I hope that helps some people create proper .zip files for their mixtape releases. If you are looking for paid apps to create .zip files for you, check out Better Zip.

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