Adele, Usher and Beyoncé are among some 285,000 artists now part of the Miami-Dade Public Library System’s collection –– and members don’t need to return the songs.
“Instead of going to a bookstore, instead of going to a music store, instead of going to Barnes & Noble, you come to us,” said Sylvia Mora-Oña, assistant director of public services for the library system.
On Jan. 22, the library system launched Freegal Music, a service that allows library members to download up to three songs per week for free and keep the songs indefinitely.
The system allows users to listen to 30 seconds of any song before choosing which to download. The system resets every Monday.
“If you’re downloading a book to your device, it expires, but this, you own it, so that makes it very special for the patron,” said Victoria Galan, a spokeswoman for the library system.
The service is provided by Library Ideas, a company based in Fairfax, Va., that offers digital online services to libraries, universities, schools and military bases.
Miami-Dade Library pays an annual subscription of $75,000 to access about 3 million songs from Sony Music and other labels.
The subscription fee is based on the population served by the library. The Miami-Dade library’s taxing district has around 2.1 million people.
“We make arrangements with the music labels. The libraries pay us a subscription, and a large portion of that gets passed on to the labels and, of course, their musicians,” said Brian Downing, founder and CEO of Library Ideas.
Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Enrique Iglesias, Chris Brown, John Mayer, Louis Armstrong and Pitbull are some of the artists available for download.
Library-card holders can download the songs through the library website and through a Freegal Music app, available for iOS and Android phones and tablets.
One week after Freegal’s launch, the library had more than 700 downloads.
“You may not be a reader because that’s just not your interest, you may never come into the library for a program, but there’s no one who doesn’t like music,” Galan said. “It’s the one thing that gives us almost 100 percent possible participation from our cardholders.”
Membership for the Miami-Dade library is free for county residents. The Broward County Library also offers Freegal.