By Roland Cody, Jr.

Nick Cicero, creator of the SUxSW mixtape, talks about his secrets to success in creating the best mixtape possible.

When putting together a mixtape, it all comes down to quality. That’s if, of course, it’s a good mixtape. Which isn’t as hard to make as some may think, either. In fact, says Nick Cicero, creator of the SUxSW mixtape, it’s actually pretty easy. Now in its third go-around, the mixtape has grown each successive year, with this year’s volume shaping up to be the best yet.

To make a great mixtape, Cicero says, “You’ve got to know what your goal is and where it’s going.” Compiling a mix of songs can get messy, especially in Cicero’s case where he’s creating a compilation of songs from different genres, including hip-hop, pop, and rock. The goal of the SUxSW mixtape, Cicero says, is to give the students and alums a platform to show their musical talents.

When it comes to distribution, being that it’s 2013 and the world revolves around the Internet, it only makes sense to release the tape online. Such is the case with the SUxSW mixtape, which is both distributed and promoted online as well as on download cards throughout the SXSW Festival. The key here is technology — make it easy for people to listen to your product. When something’s online, people can access it from pretty much any mobile device, and it’s easy to share.

There’s also the perfect mixtape’s secret ingredient: making it different. For Cicero and the SUxSW mixtape, that secret ingredient would be that it’s all put together in one week. “It rewards people who work hard consistently, staying involved and looking for opportunities,” says Cicero. In other words, it attracts the right crowd. Cicero gets the tracks, separates the best from the rest, all in his home studio, and takes the top 20 or 21 tracks. You don’t get the last minute stragglers who try to put something together quickly and submit it. This keeps the quality up to par because, remember, quality is king.