The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday February 1st

Digital music streaming gets local twist with Chapel Hill Public Library

<p>The Chapel Hill Public Library. Photo courtesy of Daniel Siler.</p>
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The Chapel Hill Public Library. Photo courtesy of Daniel Siler.

Move over, Spotify and Apple Music: Chapel Hill music is getting its own national exposure through Tracks Music Library, a new streaming platform. 

Chapel Hill Public Library will curate and maintain the tracks. The streaming platform aims to showcase local artists of every musical genre. 

Susan Brown, branch head of the Chapel Hill Public Library, said a cohort of public libraries in the country have initiated similar streaming platforms. She said these platforms are especially successful in college towns. 

“We were aware of them and thought it would be a good fit here for Chapel Hill because of the music scene, its history and the great bands that continue to play here,” Brown said. 

Brown said Tracks will launch in the spring, and its website will be free of charge and available for everyone to access.

“Then if you want to download it, you can do so with your handy-dandy Chapel Hill Public Library card,” Brown said. 

This year's collection will showcase 50 artists, and the library is currently accepting submissions for the streaming platform. 

In order to be eligible, Chapel Hill artists or bands must have a released musical project with at least five songs. The musical act may submit up to three songs for consideration. 

If an artist or band is selected, the library will purchase a license for the song and compensate the artist. Tracks will be accepting submissions until Jan. 31. 

Molly Luby, special projects coordinator at the library, said she is excited to streamline the licensing and compensation process for artists. 

“We are cutting out the middle piece of how traditional distribution happens, and we’re going straight to the artists to license the work and provide an audience with that music,” Luby said. 

Brown said the Tracks app is ideal for the digital music-sharing world, and it reflects the library’s aim for modernization. 

“We aren’t actively adding to our physical CD collection, and it’s going to fade out, so we were looking for something more modern and local to replace that collection,” Brown said. 

Tracks is a grant-funded project, and Luby said she and some collaborators spent over a month editing the grant. 

She said Tracks will not only focus on modern-day artists. Luby said the Southern Folklife Collection will help capture Chapel Hill’s music history within the streaming platform.

“We want to connect the community of Chapel Hill and UNC students with this music culture that has existed in Chapel Hill for generations and still thrives today,” Luby said. 

Mattie Migdal, a UNC junior, is the vocalist of blues-rock band Mattie and the Masters. She said she thinks the app could bring local musicians and music lovers together.

“Small artists get lost in the crowd of big artists on Spotify, so I think having a platform could get Chapel Hill names out there,” Migdal said. 

Migdal has performed at various Chapel Hill venues, and she noted that the new streaming platform will benefit venue owners. 

“It can also help those looking to book live music for events find cheaper and realistic options in the area while supporting college students that also like to perform,” she said. 

She said Chapel Hill is an excellent place for local musicians because of the loyal fanbases and the reach of the UNC community. 

“All of my friends are here and are exceedingly supportive,” Migdal said. “Also, many who graduate from Chapel Hill move elsewhere in the country, spreading our music even further.”

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