Wednesday, June 24

Adventures in Freegal

During time at home during quarantine, we librarians were tasked with sharpening our skills--I personally watched and took notes on dozens of hours of webinars to continue thinking about ways we can improve our library service. The other thing we were asked to do during this time was to really get familiar with our digital library resources.

I myself had only been part of CMRLS for a month before the quarantine began, so I was really excited for this opportunity to really take a step back and look at what we had to offer. (No harm in looking on the bright side, right?) One of my favorite things I found, which I had not previously looked into much, was the digital music service Freegal.

Now, just to set expectations properly: Freegal is not Spotify. It doesn’t have everything available you could think of. But, unlike Spotify, it doesn’t have any annoying ads or make you pay for a subscription. And, for the time being during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has changed from 3 hours of streaming a week to UNLIMITED streaming.

And don’t worry if you’re not at your computer--it has an app ready for your phone. All you need is your CMRLS library card number and your PIN number.

But maybe you’re like me: not really all that into streaming. I like to download my music to my computer, and put it on iTunes, so then it’s stored on my phone. That way, I don’t have to use data to stream, and I don’t have to worry about it’s availability. If so, here’s my favorite part of Freegal: 5 free downloads per week!

It’s hard to tell what will and won’t be on Freegal, but I have to say, sometimes in the fun of discovery that I look forward to. In late March, I started a Jimmie Rogers kick after seeing his music on the soundtrack to the Ken Burns’s “Country Music” documentary from last fall. After perfecting my Blue Yodel, I downloaded a couple of Beyoncé songs I had been meaning to get for a while. I downloaded “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lovely Day” when we all mourned Bill Withers’ passing. One of my favorite country musicians, Jason Isbell, has his new album available on Freegal after releasing it in mid-May.

Sometimes, though, the fun is in finding--or reminding yourself of--music that you would have never thought about. I heard about the calypso folk styling of Alexander D Great when I heard his song “Maya Angelou” in the old CMRLS playlist “Book It,” listing a bunch of crazy songs with literary influences.

At least for me, music has always been a source of healing and comfort, among other things. I know a lot of people feel this same way. Freegal is an excellent, free source of satisfying your musical cravings during this unusual time, and it’s available to you through the use of your CMRLS library card!

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