Ann Arbor library acquires lending, sharing and copying rights to Creative Commons music catalog

The Ann Arbor, MI library has bought a bulk license to the Magnatune catalog of Creative Commons licensed music; the license fee of $10,000/year goes to Magnatune and the musicians, and gives the library's patrons the right to listen, download and copy the music. Libraries are one of the last havens for DRM-crippled music, but Magnatune presents an alternative to the take-it-or-leave-it DRM deal the big labels demand. This is a library first, and Celeste Choate, the library's associate director of services says, this provides "fixed costs, unlimited downloads and annual licenses. The library is interested in getting the most use out of its collections, she said, while containing costs - they don't want to pay per download."
Especially impressive is the fact that the Library's IT department has made a gorgeous browsing/streaming/downloading interface, with social networking features and musical categories from our information data feeds. They even noticed the Creative Commons licensing that applies to our paid downloads and applied that same license on their library music site and allows the library members to reuse our music as they see fit.
Ann Arbor Digital Library: Magnatune

Library uses Magnatune for All-you-can-eat music

Ann Arbor Library Signs Digital Music Deal

(Thanks, John!)


  1. I guess I’ll need to pull my head out of the 000s now. Thanks Cory for the news.

  2. “Libraries are one of the last havens for DRM-crippled music” – that’ll be “one of the last havens FROM DRM0-crippled music” I suppose…

  3. I don’t understand what this $10,000/year is buying for the patrons. Can’t they already ‘listen, download and copy the music’ directly from the Magnatune website?

    1. I got the same feeling from this post. Is the library essentially paying a patronage tribute to Magnatune as if it was public art whose viewing can’t be controlled? If so, that’s cool.

    2. @Paul, it would have taken you less time to find this: “Sign Up for a Magnatune Download Membership-Try it for free for 7 days”
      Than to post your comment. It’s called the “internet” and it’s full of valuable information.

      But, in your defense, “free downloads” is internet wordplay porn; I have NEVER been CHARGED for a DOWNLOAD. I may have to buy the software once I activate it. That’s why the post was specific by including “the right to LISTEN, DOWNLOAD and COPY”.

        1. while patrons could get a single album file for free from the site, for paid memberships magnatune also offers lossless files (flac, wav) along with other formats of individual tracks. what you get is a more useful product under a CC license while supporting the artist.

          there are plenty of people who pay for quality printings of cory’s work. i’m not sure you’d say the people who paid for the CC works are hurting the free culture movement

  4. this, like all public library services, is free to it’s patrons… that’s how it’s different!

  5. BRAVO! I argued for “fixed costs” on a recent BB post. It works! But the article does not mention this move also protects the library from potential negative costs associated with patent trolls and other carpetbagging litigators; that’s a Magnatune problem.

  6. Plus, you are all missing the idea; Magnatune is a online CATALOG of Creative Commons Licensed music.

  7. AND, most people who visit the library to use computers do not have computers at home, and there’s that. I’m done. Cory wrote a simple concise easy to understand post, I can’t figure some of you out.

  8. If the library had stayed with only CC-BY-SA music, they would have needed to spend nothing and would have helped the free culture even more.

  9. $10,000 is paying musicians so they can make a living and create more music. The patrons get access to the new music that the musicians would not write/perform if there was no $$ in it.

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