Since 1979, Ron Drumm has been the record librarian of WHRW-FM, SUNY Binghamton's non-profit radio station. Having developed an incredibly
expansive knowledge of the music collection, he became a something of a mythical figure to the Binghamton music scene, influencing generations
of college students who volunteered at the station. To keep in contact with students with whom he had developed close ties, Ron began sending out
mixtapes every few months, all accompanied by hand-written letters and tracklists. It is estimated that Ron has sent out well over 10,000 of these
tapes to friends and family.
I was hired by one of these ex-students to build the next stage of these "Nice Tapes," an online archive where Ron could directly publish new mixes.
While the Nice Tapes have endured several technological changes in how recorded music is shared, transitioning from cassette tapes to CDs to MP3s, I
wanted to remain mindful of the special physicality of the tapes and their corresponding tracklists.
As a means to preserve the spirit of the Nice Tapes, the website balances retro and scrappy aesthetics with contemporary web design practices. Like on
a cassette player, the only audio control options are fast-forward, rewind, and play/pause. Additionally, the user tracks their progress within a particular
tape by observing the tape transfer from one wheel to the other. It was also very important to the client to preserve Ron's handwritten tracklists, so I
created a photoshop script that could be used to convert scanned tracklists into high-quality PNG's with transparent backgrounds for better readability.
Unfortunately, the client ended the project before it's completion so it cannot be found on the web. Here are some screenshots of the most up-to-date version: