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Prince, Putumayo, and Streaming Music

News broke of Prince’s unexpected departure from this world during our monthly book order meeting last Thursday. It was impossible to avoid the flood of quotes, photos, and music performances on social media, but many fans found it challenging to listen online to  “Little Red Corvette,” or “Diamonds and Pearls,” in memoriam. Prince was a huge proponent for artist’s rights and this is why listeners cannot find his work on streaming services like Pandora and YouTube. Prince did not totally abandon placing his music online, and the artist utilized Tidal, the subscription service owned by Jay Z, and SoundCloud to share new music. Lucky for me I somehow kept a copy of Purple Rain in my office – something every children’s librarian should have tucked away!

The search for Prince’s music was the perfect opportunity for libraries to market their own digital services, and USA Today even gave public libraries a shout out in an article providing listeners with alternative options. In response, libraries such as Highland Park Public Library and Green Tree Public Library shared Hoopla’s Prince offerings with their users.

About six years ago my library eliminated CDs for mass circulation and the children’s library has been the only place where CDs continue to exist. Parents and caregivers still request music, especially storytime cult classics like Hap Palmer’s Getting to Know Myself. As playing this type of media becomes increasingly difficult, we have been guiding families to Hoopla, the streaming service which we introduced two years ago. Luckily Hoopla has a comprehensive Raffi collection, as well as They Might Be Giants and Putumayo World Music.

Many libraries opt to provide another streaming offering, Freegal, if not having the ability to offer both services. Freegal offers users the ability to stream unlimited content which includes exclusive Sony Music Entertainment options. Despite having different pricing structures for libraries, both services are valuable for being free to library users, and also claim to give artists a percentage of their earnings.

If you provide digital music services for your library how is it received? Are parents, caregivers, and kids using these resources?

Claire Moore is a member of the Digital Content Task Force. She is also Head of Children and Teen Services at Darien Library in Connecticut. You can reach Claire at cmoore@darienlibrary.org.

Visit the Digital Media Resources page to find out more about navigating your way through the evolving digital landscape.

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