Some people don’t know the exact difference between a mix and a remix. Furthermore, words like “cover”, “remake”, “dub”, etc. tend to further confuse people that like music but aren’t really into the technical labels on different kinds of productions.
Here’s my attempt to cover all sorts of production type and explain the differences a bit. Feel free to comment or supplement…
A remix is the release of one song in which the style or “production” of that song is totally different from the original release of that song. Most remixes will only take the original vocal track of a song and arrange a completely different song around that. The new arrangements can stay loyal to the original key and chord scheme, but many times even the entire feel, rhythm, chords and key of the song is changed, basically creating an entire new song with only the vocals being the same. A remix might contain elements of the original song, like the original bassline or some piano-chords to keep some familiar elements in the remix.
An edit is a version of a song in which various elements of the song (like chorus, verse, bridge, etc.) are made longer, made shorter or put in a different order. The most common use of an edit is where a song that is considered to be too long for radio-broadcast is edited into a shorter version that will fit in somewhere between 3 to 5 minutes. Sometimes editing is done the other way around, where songs that are relatively short (like many 50’s and 60’s songs) are lengthened to a longer version to be released on a compilation CD. These kinds of edits are mostly just called “Extended Versions”. Generally the original composition is not changed, just “re-arranged”.
A megamix is a mix of multiple songs by the same artist.
Grandmix is a registered trademark of Ben Liebrand, used for his three hour yearmixes.
A minimix is a mix of just a few songs. The most common length of a mix is about one hour, suitable for broadcast in a radio-show and burning to audio CD. When a mix consists out of just 3 to 5 songs, it’s called a “minimix”.
A dub is a kind of remix in which the original song is used in its entirety, but with added elements to the original track, like extra percussion, heavier bassline or other elements not originally present in the original song.
A cover is the performance of a song that was originally performed by another band or artist.
A medley is much like a mix or medley. It consists of multiple songs together. The difference between a mix and a medley is that the latter is performed as a compilation of different songs while a mix is a compilation of different songs stitched together using audio editing technology, being either multiple CD-players or decks and a mixer or by using audio-editing software on a computer. Furthermore a medley will be performed by one artist or band, performing either own material or covering songs from other artists, while a mix can consist of songs performed by many different artists.
Originally, bootlegs were illegal recordings (mostly of concerts) that are then copied and released without permission and outside of the regular music distribution system. In modern days, a bootleg mostly is a remix of a song, done by a DJ and/or producer, but never being officially released. Mostly bootlegs are used one of multiple times in DJ sets by the DJ who made the bootleg. Sometimes these bootlegs are “picked up” and released as an official remix after all. Sometimes bootlegs find their way around the internet in some other ways, sometimes even after being illegally recorded during a club performance, thus returning the bootleg term to its original meaning.
A mixtape is a compilation of songs, originally on a cassette tape, but nowadays used as a name for any compilation on any audio format. A mixtape is usually a reflection of the musical tastes of the one who compiled the mixtape. I can be either a list of favorite songs or a mix of songs linked by a theme or mood, to a highly personal statement tailored to the tape’s intended recipient. With the advent of affordable, consumer-level digital audio, creating and distributing mixes in the form of compact disc or MP3 playlists has become the contemporary method of choice, but the term mix tape is still commonly used, even for mixes in different media (for example, CD, MP3, MiniDisc, audio cassette 8 track).