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Release Date: 04/15/2016

The Seattle Public Library Opens Submissions for Local Music to Be Added to Library's Collection May 9

logo for PlayBack

This summer, The Seattle Public Library will launch an online Seattle music collection called PlayBack, starting with 50 albums of local music available for free download and streaming. PlayBack is intended to be an ever-expanding collection of Seattle's musical culture, and 100 new albums will be available each year through the Library's catalog.


All Seattle-area musicians who record or perform in the city of Seattle are invited to submit a music album. The album must contain four or more songs and have been produced within the last five years. If an album is accepted, the artist will receive an honorarium of $200. Selected albums in the PlayBack collection will be discoverable through the Library's online catalog and highlighted through the Library's social media channels. Artists will also have opportunities to perform live at the Library.


The Library seeks works that reflect the rich variety of genres represented in Seattle's music scene. Broad and inclusive submission criteria is detailed on PlayBack's Information for Artists page. This new music collection is intended to reflect the diversity and abundance of Seattle's music scene. 


The first submission period will be open Monday, May 9 through 5 p.m. on Monday, May 23. A second submission period will open this fall. To submit music to The Seattle Public Library's PlayBack platform, visit www.spl.org/playback. Submissions will only be accepted online. The preferred file types are FLAC, WV and AIFF. Other accepted file types are MP3, AAC and Ogg Vorbis.


"Any Seattle-area musician or group can submit work that was recorded in the last five years," said Andrew Harbison, assistant director for Collections and Access Services at the Library. "One of the Library's key service priorities is community engagement. PlayBack helps us accomplish that with Seattle's robust, active music community. We're building a unique collection highlighting local talent, while building new relationships and partnerships in support of local artists. While it's our first local music collection where we're licensing music directly from musicians, we've had good success with a similar effort called Self-E, which is a self-publishing platform local authors can use to submit and share their work."


The jury for the first submission period includes:


  • Tim Lennon, executive director of the Vera Project and music commissioner for the City of Seattle


  • Larry Mizell, Jr., KEXP DJ, host of Street Sounds, digital media specialist for the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture and columnist for The Stranger


  • Liz Riley Tollefson, founder of and contributor to Three Imaginary Girls


  • Kreg Hasegawa, adult librarian at The Seattle Public Library and project lead


  • Meira Jough, program coordinator at The Seattle Public Library



To develop the PlayBack platform, the Library has partnered with the Madison, Wisconsin-based startup called Rabble. The software that powers PlayBack is a fully open-sourced platform called MUSICat, which has been designed by Rabble with the help of libraries. The goal of PlayBack and MUSICat is to empower libraries to share local music and support creative communities.


Funding for PlayBack has been made possible with the generous support of The Seattle Public Library Foundation.


For more information, visit www.spl.org/playback, call 206-386-4636 or Ask a Librarian.

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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