As a cultural phenomenon, ccMixter represents a direct response to what some say is the increasingly litigious attitude of organizations like the RIAA—one which prevents artists from appropriating elements of others' work for creative reuse in their own.
The site originated as a project of Creative Commons but in October 2009, Creative Commons licensed the name 'ccMixter' and transferred operations to ArtisTech Media, a company run by members of the ccMixter community. The project maintains close organizational ties to independent minded, open music labels such as Magnatune and BBE. The site runs on ccHost, an award winning open source multimedia content management system that is able to keep track of how content is being remixed.
ccMixter Blog Feed
Victor Stone -- the major force behind ccMixter since its inception in 2004 -- wrote a fascinating memoir about the first four years (which you can read here, CC licensed naturally). In one section, he recalls that the site originally came about as a place to host the results of the Creative Commons/ WIRED remix contest. The site would go on to host contests by the likes of Vieux Farka Toure, Fort Minor (of Linkin Park), and the Copyright Criminals documentary. Over time, the community started to suffer from what Victor calls "remix fatigue"; more importantly, the idea of a remix contest that promotes a certain artist seemed at odds with the community-oriented nature of the site. As Victor puts it in his memoir, "contests were a construct of the commercial economy and simply didn't fit into ccMixter's sharing economy".