Lindsay discovers the Grateful Dead.

Local Libraries Might Hold The Key To Unlock Your Local Music Scene

Music scenes are a blessing with their own home-brewed curses. They’re the culmination of community ingenuity, capturing the essence of who lives in your town and reflecting their hopes and desires through music. Yet they also evolve incredibly quickly, and depending on where you live, a lot of perfectly fine bands can get lost to time for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons are innocuous—life changes, “growing up,” things like that. Others are worse, having to do more with who meets “modern demands” in the industry (ethnically, aesthetically, etc.).

Recommended Videos

Either which way, it comes as no surprise to me whatsoever that the one player for good in these situations has proven to be, you guessed it, Your Local Library. Now, libraries are dope for a variety of reasons; that much should be a given. But this is truly an ingenious public service that, honestly, now that I think about it, I’m surprised hasn’t been implemented sooner.

Vice spoke with Joshua Smith, an employee at NoLa Public Library and a veteran of the city’s local scene, who managed the launching of its own local streaming platform, Crescent City Sounds. The result is a platform that resembles Bandcamp, aesthetically and practically, but is easier to navigate and of course sticks to local acts.

“The goal of this was to make every round that we add albums to it to be as reflective of the local music scene as possible,” he said. “Personally, I was looking for things that are less what you think of when you think of New Orleans music because people think of us in a certain way. There’s an incredible diversity to the music scene here. And, you know, just the diversity of the city. So we’re trying to make everything as reflective of that as we could this round.” 

Joshua Smith, via Vice

This is such a vital service for preserving such a crucial aspect to any town’s sense of identity, beyond the surface. I know so many bands in the towns I’ve lived in that deserved way more recognition than they ever got (you know, in favor of Aesthetically Pleasing White Person Act the Third) and this is such a fantastic way of keeping their legacies alive. This way, if any kid wants to join a scene but feels too intimidated—because that’s unfortunately a reality for many aspiring musicians, even though most of the “cool guys” in scenes can barely make eye contact with anyone—they can explore these services and see other musicians that reflect who they are, and therefore feel emboldened to go on and add their own sound to the scene.

Of course, even beyond the gatekeeping aspect, library streaming services are just an incredibly cost-effective way of streaming music. If you have a library card, you have access to all the music the library holds, since the services are no different from just checking out a book. And it makes sense, after so many decades of libraries renting out CDs, that they’d start to go digital. This also helps libraries, who get more funding based on how many people are using their systems.

So, either which way you look at it, this is a hugely beneficial initiative that doesn’t really have any downsides. I mean, sure, their music collections might not be as vast as more popular streaming platforms, but I’m of the mind that you get more out of your listening experience if you tune into your local townie’s blues act from ten years ago than whatever the new industry plant has going on.

In conclusion: Why are you still here??? Go see if your local library has a streaming service!! Save money, learn something!!

(featured image: NBC)

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Madeline Carpou
Madeline Carpou
Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).