Free music available from the Library

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 12:44

“I love the library!” yelled Linnea, one of the women on my bowling team, over the cacophony of banging balls and crashing pins at Center Bowl. She waved her MP3 player. “I love the new program that lets you download new songs every week.”

Excitedly she explained how easy it was and what a huge selection of music there was. “My husband keeps wanting to help me,” she said grinning. “Guess he will just have to get his own library card if he wants to play.”

Music for free! For all of our cardholders who want to play, your library is offering you a drama-free method of getting the music you want, three songs at a time. Gone are concerns of copyright infringements. Absent are the per-song-costs associated with downloading. There is no “enabling” program to download to access your share of free music. Music borrowed from this virtual collection will not disappear from your top picks after the library checkout period is over.

Welcome to the world of Freegal (a hybrid of “free and legal” which rhymes with legal)! Using your Anchorage Public Library card number, you can now download three songs a week to keep. For free. The selection is huge – millions of songs and thousands of artists. And downloading is simple.

The Freegal link is at the top of the library homepage ( Clicking on it brings you to the sign-in page – thank goodness, no user name to remember or password to create – just put in your library card number. Click on the Freegal logo on the site’s opening page and you are free to wander though the thousands of pages of song titles.

If you’re like me, it’s all a bit overwhelming. The Freegal collection includes songs from more than 10,000 music labels from over 60 countries. Think about it – which three songs would you choose to download given a multi-million song selection. Plus the selections change daily, so who can keep up?

Luckily, the site is set up to browse. You can conduct your searches by looking at genres, individual artists, song and album titles, as well as keywords. Freegal also offers a collection of Top Download lists on the homepage, so you can explore what other people are downloading. Finally, as you narrow your selections, the “song clip” button lets you hear to 30 seconds lifted from the song to help you decided whether you want to download it or not.

After hitting the download button - on the same line as the song title - the song is transferred to your computer. The songs are downloaded as MP3 files, which are compatible with any MP3 Player or device. Each library card has a limit of three songs per week. However, you can download your selections a couple times. Go to your “download list” on the bar on the top of the page to access them. The Freegal app cannot be used to access the Anchorage Public Library collection yet.

Freegal is the latest way that Anchorage Public Library is providing its users with access to an incredible range of free downloadable materials. If you haven’t yet, check out APL’s collections of downloadable ebooks and digital audio books. You can also search a broad range of databases including Auto Repair Reference Center, Consumer Health Complete, reference libraries, a language bank, and numerous magazines and newspapers online. All you need to access any of these services is a library card.

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