Local Music and Libraries: Rabble, a UW-Madison Spinoff Helps Libraries Help Local Musicians with MUSICat Software
On July 5, Hennepin County Library became the sixth library system to offer access to software that presents the sound of local musicians in an easy-to-access format.
The Minneapolis-area system joins Seattle, Nashville, Omaha, Madison and Edmonton, Alberta, in using the software developed by Rabble LLC, a Madison startup with roots at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Musicians benefit from a one-time payment from the library, and from the exposure to both patrons and event organizers looking for music with a local touch. Library patrons can listen to tracks or download them, or save selections as favorites via the library’s MUSICat website. Many libraries establish a separate name and URL for the service, says co-founder Kelly Hiser.
The company’s seeds were planted during Hiser’s year-long Public Humanities Fellowship at Madison Public Library, funded by UW–Madison’s Center for Humanities. At the library, Hiser worked on various digital music applications, including a first foray into music lending
Before the year was up, she began talking with Preston Austin of the Madison digital music service Murfie about expanding the idea into a startup. The result was Rabble, and its service, MUSICat, a digital channel for presenting music created in a library’s backyard to its patrons.
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.