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The Future of Library Music Collections


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This presentation offers a brief discussion of the issues facing music libraries as digital formats (e.g. MP3, AAC) surpass CDs as the primary means to access new music.

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The Future of Library Music Collections

  1. 1. DIGITAL MUSIC & LIBRARIES Information Technology 550 - Sarah Elichko
  2. 2. What’s the problem? <ul><li>Libraries are increasingly offering users access to electronic resources like journals and ebooks, but what about music? </li></ul><ul><li>Current library music collections rely overwhelmingly on physical music formats like CDs, especially for popular music in public libraries. </li></ul><ul><li>Digital music stores like iTunes prohibit redistribution of MP3 files – what alternatives exist for libraries? </li></ul>
  3. 3. History of Music Formats <ul><li>1877 - Thomas Edison invents the phonograph. </li></ul><ul><li>1929 - Frequency Modulation (FM) radio introduced. </li></ul><ul><li>1948 - Columbia Records introduces the long-playing (LP) record. </li></ul><ul><li>1979 - Sony Walkman introduced. (By 1995, 150 million sold.) </li></ul><ul><li>1983 - Sony and Philips introduce compact disc technology. </li></ul><ul><li>1991 - The Fraunhofer Institute in Germany patents MP3 format. </li></ul><ul><li>1998 - First MP3 players introduced (Saehan's MPMan, sold in Korea). </li></ul><ul><li>1999 – Napster is created </li></ul><ul><li>2001 – Napster peaks at 26.4 million users - First iPod introduced </li></ul>
  4. 4. MP3 <ul><li>MP3 files are compressed sound files, aiming to compress CD-quality songs without noticeably affecting sound quality. </li></ul><ul><li>The format removes particular sounds that most people cannot hear in order to reduce file size. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, if there are two sounds playing at the same time, we only hear the louder one, so the softer sound is removed from the file. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Digital Rights Management (DRM) <ul><li>DRM refers to computer programs that limit use of digital content such as MP3s, movies, and TV shows. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, a common DRM encryption scheme will only play a file on the computer on which it was originally installed. </li></ul><ul><li>iTunes and Wal-Mart no longer include restrictive DRM on music downloads, but Overdrive does. </li></ul><ul><li>iTunes still includes restrictive DRM on purchased movies and TV shows. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Case study #1: Union College <ul><li>Starting in 2005, used iTunes sharing to increase CD circulation and generate interest in the library music collection. </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians created a playlist of new music from the Schaffer Library collection and shared it over the library wireless network. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Indiana Uni. – Variations Project <ul><li>Librarians digitized recordings placed on reserve, uploaded to a streaming server, and cataloged. </li></ul><ul><li>Allowed simultaneous users </li></ul><ul><li>Only available to students in the Music Library. </li></ul><ul><li>Even so, increased use of reserve recordings by a factor of 5 – within 1 year. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced wear and tear on physical recordings </li></ul>
  8. 8. New York Public Library <ul><li>NYPL uses Overdrive to provide users with access to digital music (as well as ebooks and other media). </li></ul><ul><li>Popular music coverage is minimal, especially in comparison to classical. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  9. 9. Issues <ul><li>Access versus ownership of content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Instability of access – e.g. company goes out of business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less control over collection development </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Licensing agreements prohibiting redistribution of content – e.g. circulating to patrons. </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing dependence on outside firms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Very few competitors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Outsourcing’ of library tasks to for-profit firms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Difficult to find popular titles with appropriate licenses </li></ul>
  10. 10. Future of Library Music Collections <ul><li>Increasing shift to subscription, access-based services like Overdrive. </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing digitization of existing music collections (CDs, LPs, tapes) </li></ul><ul><li>Possibly, more records. </li></ul>
  11. 11. More records? <ul><li>While CD sales have dropped precipitously in recent years, sales of new vinyl records have increased: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2006: 900,000+ LPs and EPs shipped </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2007: 1.3 million shipped (37% increase from ‘07) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2008: 1.88 million shipped </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  12. 12. Questions & Comments