Nearly a decade after the mixtape wars of the mid-2000s, the format still resides in an awkward limbo for retailers, distributors, artists and labels. Many retailers stopped carrying mixtapes after the RIAA proved litigious against the sale of unofficial releases, leading police raids on several retailers in 2005 and on the offices of DJ Drama in 2007. But mixtapes remain a critical promotional tool in the industry, particularly among hip-hop artists, where they often rival official albums. Outside the purview of the major-label system, sales of the format have persisted.

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