Local libraries get their groove back
August 15, 2011
Move over, iTunes.
On July 1, the public libraries for the county and city of Los Angeles will introduce Freegal (as in “free and legal”), a new online service for library members that offers them 13 free music downloads a month from Sony Music’s vast catalog of recorded music by legendary artists in every style and discipline.
The artist roster ranges from rock ’n’ roll pioneers like Gene Vincent and Roy Orbison through classic rock legends Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen to more contemporary talent like Foo Fighters, Beyoncé and Pitbull. Not to mention a rich catalogue of classical, jazz, show tunes and international music.
The arrangement was made possible through an innovative agreement with Library Ideas, a Fairfax, Virginia-based new media company that licenses and distributes music, games and language-learning materials through public libraries.
Together, the County Library and City Library systems negotiated a packaged deal with the company for a pair of individual one-year subscriptions, one for each institution. Library Ideas in turn has negotiated a fee arrangement with Sony Music for access to their catalogue for city and county library patrons, who will be permitted three downloads per week for the term of the subscription. Other clients include libraries in Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, Arizona and Tennessee.
“We’ve known for a long time that the music industry is moving toward electronic music. This is a way for us to access that and provide a service to the public, but not just any service, a high demand service,” said County Librarian Margaret Donnellan Todd.
“Music,” she added, “is as important to culture as literature, film, fine art and the performing arts. So it makes sense to offer this service since it fits our mission of providing the community with culturally significant information resources.”
Between them, the two library systems serve a combined jurisdiction of nearly eight million residents in the City of Los Angeles and 51 of the County’s other 87 incorporated cities. The County library boasts a 7.7 million volume book collection, as well as magazines, newspapers, microfilm and other holdings – not to mention downloadable audiobooks, e-books and coming soon, music. For more information on these and many other services, visit the County Library and City Library websites.