Yahara Music Library Brings Local Music to the Digital Space

Yahara Music Library Brings Local Music to the Digital Space
The Yahara Music Library went live on Wednesday.

Madison music lovers now have a new way to enjoy tunes by local artists. Yahara Music Library, the Madison Public Library’s newest innovation, is now live, making is possible for anyone with a South Central Library card to stream or download CDs from select musicans from the Madison area. The online initiative is a joint project between the library and , a local company that functions both as an online and physical delivery system for music artists.

Yahara Music Library pays local musicians $200 for a five-year license to have their music on the site. The music is available in various formats, including lossless, through an interface on the project’s website. The library and Murfie are releasing technical aspects of the project under an open source license so that others can replicate the project and contribute to it. 

For budget reasons, the music will initially be chosen by librarian Guy Hankel, the project’s mastermind, although an advisory board will determine future selections. Hankel is choosing based on his own knowledge and based on who has won awards, particularly from the Madison Area Music Association. Hankel and Murfie’s Preston Austin will be on hand to present the New Artist of the Year award at this year’s MAMA Awards on June 22 at the Capitol Theater. No doubt they will have something to say about the Yahara Music Library.

Music must be independently released and cannot include copyrighted titles (also known as cover songs) that are written by other artists. There is certainly no shortage of local, independent recordings however. Local Sounds Magazine has been tracking music releases in the Madison area for several years, counting well over a hundred each year. That’s not a typo, that’s over a hundred per year.

The initial roster includes twenty-three releases that cross several genres. Artists include hard rock from Baristacide and Venus in Furs, mellow pop from Bello and Ida Jo, country-influenced rock and pop from Beth Kille and the Whiskey Farm, alternative music from German Art Students, Stephanie Rearick and Julian Lynch, and hip-hop from Sincere Life and former Madisonian F. Stokes. The offerings also include the dual release of Spooner’s first two albums as well as albums by the Gomers, the Zombeatles and Natty Nation. See the full list here.