Freegal Music ending October 31st, hoopla music still available

Changes are coming to our digital music product options.  We are cancelling our subscription to Freegal Music effective October 31, 2015.  Customers will have access to digital music albums through hoopla and to physical music albums through our large music CD collection.

Here’s the communication plan and some talking points for you:

Communication Plan:
  • notification about Freegal will be included in the next 2 Library News Updates.  Library News is our biweekly email news publication that goes out to over 40,000 library customers.  Library News will inform customers of the cancellation news and focus on alternatives to Freegal for our customers.   These alternatives include hoopla for digital music and our access to our physical music CD collection.
  • signage about Freegal will be placed in the music CD collection.  It will likely be placed on or very near the Freegal poster that’s on the column in that area.
  • a slide about Freegal will be created and deployed on the Janus monitors
  • Every person who has used Freegal from 1/1/2014 to today will receive an email informing him or her about the cancellation and about alternatives available for music checkout at the library.
Talking Points:
  • Why is the library cancelling Freegal?
    • Answer:  We have decided to invest our resources in hoopla as our digital music platform.  Freegal is an expensive product, costing the library $34,600 each year.  We need to put our financial resources into products where we see the most growth and use with our customers and that is with hoopla, not Freegal.
  • Will I be able to download and keep songs or albums with hoopla like I can with Freegal?
    • Answer:  you can download entire albums on hoopla.  They stay on your mobile/tablet device or computer for 7 days and then automatically return to hoopla.  You don’t “keep” the music permanently on hoopla but instead borrow it like you would a physical item checked out from the library.  There are no late fees for hoopla checkouts.
  • Will I get to keep the songs I already downloaded from Freegal?
    • Answer:  it depends on how you manage the music files.
      • music downloaded via a computer (Mac or PC):  yes, you get to keep the music.  It should already be in a file(s) on your computer.
      • music downloaded/accessed through Freegal app on Apple devices:  music needs to be backed up from the device to iTunes in order to be permanently retained.  Freegal provides instructions on how to do this in the FAQ on the Freegal website.  The friendly librarians at Las Vegas Clark County District Library have created helpful instructions here:  http://readmevegas.blogspot.com/2014/03/dont-lose-your-songs-from-freegal.html
      • music downloaded/accessed through Freegal app on Android devices:  music needs to be transferred to a computer or to another file in order to be permanently retained.  Freegal provides decent instructions on what to do with Android devices here:  http://topeka.freegalmusic.com/questions
      • Bottom line:  transfer the music out of the app into a designated file or other music management program.  Access to customers’ TSCPL-funded Freegal accounts will end when our subscription expires on October 31st.  To be absolutely transparent about this, I’m not sure exactly when Freegal will turn off access but let’s assume it could happen as early as 11pm on October 31st.
  • Does hoopla have the same music as Freegal?
    • Answer:  No, it doesn’t not have the same music.  Freegal has an exclusive deal with Sony music and it includes the Sony music catalog.  Hoopla has content from all the other major music distributors besides Sony.
  • How much music is on hoopla?
    • 30,089 labels
    • 134,416 artists
    • 258,769 albums
  • How do I know what music is on hoopla?
    • Answer:  explore hoopla music or look up an album or artist in the library catalog.  We import thousands of music records for hoopla each month into Polaris.
  • How much does the library pay for hoopla? 
    • Answer:  hoopla operates on a pay-per-use model.  This means we pay money when a customer checks out an album on hoopla.  Currently we pay about $1.49 per album.  We pay only for what customers check out.  This is different from Freegal where we pay a flat rate regardless of customer use of the product.
  • Are we saving money by using hoopla instead of Freegal?
    • Answer:  Yes, the library is saving money because pay-per-use models are currently more cost efficient than flat rate pay models.  More importantly, we are investing in hoopla because it’s the product that’s growing in usage with our customers.  We need to put our money into products with strong customer demand.
    • Hoopla is also very committed to working with us as a library and in growing and improving the hoopla platform so that the customer experience is the best it can be.  This is a very different approach from Freegal which has always maintained a fairly hands-off approach with us.  We’ve not seen strong product development or transparency with Freegal and that is concerning considering the amount of financial resources we have allocated to it for the past 5 years.

Have a question you don’t see here?  Please comment on this post and I will reply as soon as possible.  I will do my best to answer your questions.  Moving away from Freegal will be a significant change for a small group of our customers.  Please assure any concerned customer you work with that they still have a digital music option with hoopla and access to our outstanding physical music CD collection.  I am happy to personally speak with any customer who wishes to talk with a manager about this issue.  My phone is 580-4460.

Thank you.

3 thoughts on “Freegal Music ending October 31st, hoopla music still available

  1. Scarlett Fisher-Herreman on said:

    additional note: customers who have been transferring music from Freegal to mp3 players will not be able to transfer music downloaded or streamed from hoopla. Hoopla does not allow file transfer of content. While I do not anticipate this to be an issue with most customers, there’s a possibility you may receive a question or comment about it.

  2. Lissa Staley on said:

    We do have several regular customers who come each week to download their 4 freegal songs and transfer to players here at the library. Are there any other (legal and free) options for them to obtain digital music downloads? I am not savvy on those options currently but if there was an alternative to recommend I would like to know about it. Thanks, Lissa