By Toni Massari McPherson
Music for free! For all of our cardholders who like to listen to music, 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. No need to download an “enabling” program to gain access your share of free music. Music borrowed from this virtual library 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 – www.anchoragelibrary.org. 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 your are free to wander through the thousands of pages of song titles.
If you’re like me, it can be a bit overwhelming. The Freegal collection includes songs from more than 10,000 music labels from more than 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 easy to browse. You can conduct searches by looking at genres, individual artists, son and album titles, as well as keywords. Freegal also offers a collection of Top Download lists on the homepage, so you can borrow someone else’s playlist if you care to. Finally, as you narrow your selections, the “song clip” button lets you hear up to 30 seconds lifted from the song to help you decide whether you want to download it or not.
After hitting the download button, which is 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. One note: the Freegal app cannot be used to access the Anchorage Public Library collection yet. Although there is an iPhone app for Freegal, APL cannot activate it yet because of conflict with the library’s circulation software. APL is attempting to remedy the barriers to activation.
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 e-books 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 your library card.