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Library giving away free music

Freegal allows patrons to download three songs a week at no charge

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Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013 9:22 am

Are you hooked on One Direction’s latest hits? Does the prospect of a new album from Britney Spears have you anxiously awaiting an opportunity to download the lead single? Maybe there’s a Carrie Underwood song stuck in your head that you’d like to listen to, but your iTunes account is empty.

Visit the Kokomo Howard County Library’s website and start downloading songs for free. The library is connected to Freegal -- a specialized music service that gives patron’s the opportunity to own their favorite music for free.

“We started it in September 2011,” said Tammy Keith, head of collections management for the library. “A lot of people we have talked to have never heard of it, but we’ve had more than 17,000 downloads from 853 patrons -- by far our most-used database. It’s also our most expensive service.”

But the expense isn’t passed to the user. The music is free to download -- up to three tracks per week.

“You have to have a library card and a password for your account, you can access the service,” said Doug Workinger, head of Outreach for the library. “You can’t have any kind of block on your card, for late fees or whatever. You can’t owe money or have an expired card. Otherwise, you can get into the service, do searches, and download materials. You can download up to three tracks a week.”

The Freegal website keeps track of your downloads for you, and it provides a sample clip of each track so that you can be sure you’re downloading the song you want. According to Workinger, the song downloads into a temporary file from which you can then move it into your permanent collection. And it never expires.

Freegal downloads are in MP3 format with no digital rights management attached. the files work on an MP3 player, including iPods, iPhones, PCs, Macs, and Android devices.

“And that’s three tracks per library card, so if you have a family of four and each has a card, that’s 12 downloads a week,” added Justin Kingery, digital librarian. “And there are apps for Apple and Android phone to access the service.”

Because Freegal is a service provided by Sony Music Entertainment, not every recording artist is available on the site, but artists like Pitbull, Beyonce, John Mayer, Kenny Chesney, Pink, and many other top artists are featured there. According to Keith, the most popular categories of music downloaded by KHCPL users are pop, rock, country and gospel/Christian.

“With Freegal, however, you have to live in our taxing district in order to access the service,” said Keith.

For more information about this service, call 454-4710. Questions can also be submitted by email to reference@khcpl.org.