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Thursday, April 18, 2024

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Arts + CultureMusicSF Public Library makes noise with local tunes streaming...

SF Public Library makes noise with local tunes streaming service

Bay Beats, SFPL’s upcoming free site, wants to hear from you.

A new champion of local music has emerged at a time when we could really use some new and positive energy. It’s coming from an unlikely place that’s apparently ready to make some noise: the San Francisco Public Library. 

An invited panel of 10 community jurors (including myself) have been asked to evaluate music submissions in order to recommend music to share on Bay Beats, a free streaming site that SFPL plans to launch later in the year. This year’s submission period is from Mon/1 to July 31.

Artists who are selected and agree to sign a non-exclusive licensing agreement will receive a $250 honorarium, and any of the 460,000-plus people who have a library card in San Francisco will be able to stream or download the tracks for free. If you don’t already have a library card, you should get one—it’s quick and easy, and they are super cute and topical, with the new edition sporting an illustration of people wearing headphones.

Bay Beats will also link to artists’ sites and promote them over social media and in the print newsletter At The Library, which has a physical circulation of 12,000. SFPL shared that Bay Beats draws inspiration from a similar project called MNspin that is hosted by the Hennepin County Library in Minnesota.

The lyric interior of the Main San Francisco Public Library

If this project tickles your fancy as a musician, but you aren’t sure that your style will fit into this project, worry not: SFPL is looking for diverse artists who make “Jazz to Soul, Rap to Rock, Western Classical to Indian Classical, Latin to Hip Hop, Country to Avant-Garde, Folk to World, Gospel to Punk, New Age to Noise and everything in between,” according to the submission guidelines. (I personally was asked which of 20 different genres I would be interested in reviewing and was pleasantly surprised by the range.)

A few other parameters from the submission guidelines are worth noting. Cover songs are allowed if they have been cleared or are in the public domain or under a Creative Commons license. Some songs with samples are also okay for now, with the policy being subject to change if laws about them do: “Currently, sampling in Bay Beats is okay as long as the average layperson: 1. wouldn’t confuse a song or musical composition with the work that it samples and 2. wouldn’t know a sample’s source without prior warning.”

Bay Beats will launch in the fall (date TBD), with plans for additional yearly music submission rounds starting in 2024. It’s an honor to serve as a community juror and help to put out the call for music submissions. It will be a sincere delight to listen to what the Bay Area sounds like right now, and whether the community will spark some new stars who can take on the world.

For more info on Bay Beats, go here.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

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