Freegal (rhymes with legal) means free music

edited July 2011 in General
Freebie music courtesy of your local library. My local library (which is totally badass and has been that way for years) offers up 3 freebie downloads a week. Looks like a lot of the same back catalog Sony, Warner music provided by the other place. The FAQ describes thusly:

Library Ideas is a privately held company based in Fairfax, Virginia that offers services and products to the educational markets. Besides Freegal Music, Library Ideas offers movies on USB, an online language learning product and online games.

At 3 pops a week it will take me about a month to fill out my Donell Jones fetish.

Anyhoo, check with your local library. You will need a valid library card to register and download.


  • Cool, I think Craig or someone else mentioned this or something similar awhile back. It's not at my local (Dallas) library system, but I do regularly stroll its catalog for new releases and to avoid buying something they have a physical copy idea.
  • I just got a notice to come in and renew my library card. Now I have some incentive.
  • Not sure how your libraries operate, but for me it is a major source of music. I can have out three CDs at a time for £1 each for a week. Often I'll change mid week, so I'll get through 6 new CDs a week. It is all legal, as the artist will get income from both the initial purchase - they pay more than I would to have on such a basis, plus something everytime it is borrowed.
  • For some reason, Wake County--the capitol county with some of the wealthiest communities in the Southeast US--offers no music and no video (save some programming from the local PBS stations). It's all books, audio and in print.
  • Paying to borrow items is usually not something you have to do in most public libraries in the U.S. as far as I know, Greg. But there are fines for overdue items.
  • We don't pay for books, but do pay for CDs and DVDs - not much, but it is to cover the licensing fees and hire payments to artists. Authors get very little in comparison if their books are borrowed
  • Just so's we are clear, we are talking free mp3 downloads not CD's, although my library offers CD's for the normal 3 week borrowing period. I don't borrow CD's anymore because I got tired of competing with 13 year olds for them.

    Also, it felt a little scuzzy to rip them to my computer. That's the result of hanging around with you folks.
  • @jUj: Those must be pretty sophisticated teenagers if they're after the same CDs you are. Or do you mean you've got to elbow your way into the CD section?
  • edited March 2012
    A library where I have privileges just got this, and it's pretty good. Better selection than I expected...I'll take advantage of it while it lasts!

    Was interested enough to Google around a little bit, and found this interesting discussion. The librarian blogger is dead set against it, and thinks it's a bad investment...I guess I'd tend to agree, as it has the library spending resources to basically buy something for one patron. But at least some of the commenters have a differing view.
  • I just posted on that librarian blog.
  • edited March 2012
    An interesting discussion. We have no such service, but it sounds a bit like e-books that academic libraries buy into here. The problem is that only one user at a time can use it. I know that is the case with a physical book or CD or whatever, but isn't the point to make it easier to users to access? To me a much better system for music is that when a library buys a CD for hire, it pays more for the purpose along with an extra fee each time it is loaned, so the copyright owner gets something for it s use. I see no reason why this could not be extended to downloading with a built in life, but then isn't Spotify doing this better already. Overall our local library service does make a 'profit' from CDs and DVDs helping to subsidise book purchases.
  • We have those too Greg at college libraries in the United States. They usually won't let you print out more than a certain number of pages, if any. I've been lucky so far to not need to read an entire ebook on such a service yet.
  • Just wanted to put in another plug for Freegal, especially now that emusic is shedding labels right and left. If your library offers it, I've found it the best option of all the other library-offered music services like Hoopla and Alexander Street. Your mileage may vary, but my library lets us download 5 tracks for free each week from Freegal, and in addition to the Sony and RCA back catalog (fill any gaps in your Leonard Cohen discography), there are a number of cool smaller labels with great ambient/electronic stuff, including Serein, Audiobulb, Tench, Bureau B, Hibernate.... Here's a list of stuff I've downloaded in 2018 so far (we have 2 library cards in this household, so that's about 10 tracks a week).

    Ametsub, Mbira Lights

    Banabila, Just Above the Surface

    Banabila, Trespassing

    Federico Durand, Extasis de las Flores

    High Plains, Cinderland

    Kein, In Bloom

    Konntinent, All Lines Lead In

    Kryshe, March of the Mysterious

    Marcus Fischer, Collected Dust

    Monty Adkins, Rift Patterns

    Moss Garden, In the Silence of the Subconscious

    Olan Mill, Pine

    Poppy Ackroyd, Escapement

    Poppy Ackroyd, Feathers

    Poppy Ackroyd, Resolve

    Porya Hatami, Vari

    Porya Hatami, Daydreamer

    Roedelius, Offene Turen

    Roedelius & Cole, Selected Studies, Vol. 1

    Teresa Salguiero, La Golondrina Y el Horizonte

    The Balustrade Ensemble, Renewed Brilliance

    Various Artists, White Bird in a Blizzard

    Various Artists, Mulheres de Pericles

    Wil Bolton, Under a Name That Hides Her

    Wil Bolton, Amber Studies

    Wil Bolton, Time Lapse

    Yui Onodera, Sinkai


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