Back in the late 80's, before the Internet, MP3s & iTunes, there was "The Personics System". It was a legal, authorized way of having a personal, custom mix tape.
It was in a way the same as what we had in the Philippines in the early 80's. You go to these "taping/recording/dubbing" places along Raon St. in Quiapo (& other parts of the Metro). You pick your songs that would fit in a C-60 or C-90 blank cassette tape & pay. They usually record the songs off the vinyl (or sometimes a direct cassette dub). Simple as that. Of course, that was illegal, unregulated & didn't pay royalties. The early form of piracy in the Philippines.
Here in the States, they've introduced "The Personics System". There were kiosks placed at major record music stores where you could listen to song samples. There was also the monthly magazine/catalog that listed the songs to choose from. Songs were priced from 50 cents to like $1.50. Once you picked your songs, you take it to the counter where they process your order. I'm not really sure on how it worked but they used a special deck. Nakamichi to be exact, which was hooked up to a computer system, which was probably hooked up to their network (i.e. modem/telephone line or early internet). I would think now that they may have used some sort of digital audio format like WAV; processed & recorded via hi-speed dubbing. They also printed a custom j-card.
I remember having 3 mix tapes done. Below were two of them:
I. "Alternative Rock" - June 9, 1989 Friday [$15.55 for 16 tracks]
1. Where Nowhere Is - HooDoo Gurus
2. Mandinka - Sinead O'Connor
3. I'm An Adult Now - The Pursuit of Happiness
4. Dear God - Midge Ure
5. Babyman - Christmas
6. Foxheads - Close Lobsters
7. Blaze Of Glory - The Exploding White Mice
8. This Is Not A Love Song - Public Image Ltd.
9. A Very Special Day - The Grapes of Wrath
10. (Glad I'm) Not A Kennedy - Shona Laing
11. Basia - Painters and Dockers
1. Truck, Train, Tractor - The Pastels
2. 2 Steps Forward - Pray For Rain
3. Behind The Wall Of Sleep - The Smithereens
4. I Need Someone - The Sneetches
5. Stuck In A Nightmare - Tooth & Nail
(I added 6 more songs on my own)
II. "Rap Attack!: Hip Hop Scene" by Human Beatbox [Dec. 8, 1989]
1. Renegades Of Funk - Afrika Bambaataa
2. Looking For The Perfect Beat - Afrika Bambaataa
3. Planet Rock - Afrika Bambaataa
4. The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff - DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
5. Play That Beat Mr. D.J. - G.L.O.B.E. & Whiz Kid
6. Haunted House Of Rock - Whodini
7. Magic's Wand - Whodini
8. Pump It Up (Here's The News) - M.C. Hammer
1. Make It Funky - Ice-T
2. Put That Record Back On - Just-Ice
3. How Ya Like Me Now - Kool Moe Dee
4. Rock The House (You'll Never Be) - Pressure Drop
5. Stylin' - The Skinny Boys
6. Funky Cold Medina - Tone Loc
7. Johnny The Fox - Tricky Tee
8. [Air Raid Siren - sound effect]
The third one, "Alternative Rock Vol. 2" was borrowed by someone & never returned. I remember there were two Nine Inch Nails tracks in it: Down In It & Head Like A Hole
The Personics System used TDK High Bias Tapes, Dolby System Digital Sourcing and Nakamichi High Speed Transport.
The Personics Corporation was based at 101 Saginaw Drive, Redwood City, CA 94063
Here are some links I found on the web:
For more info, just search on google: "personics system"