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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