for its brand new Volume Denver program | By Bree Davies

This spring, the Denver Public Library is seeking local music for a flagship program it’s preparing to launch called Volume Denver. “We were talking about how we really wanted to do something to get some content that you can’t find at Walmart or the other big box stores,” says Joan Hansen of the library’s Collection Development team. “There’s a great music scene in Denver, and we thought we could probably find a lot of bands who were interested in having the exposure and supporting the library, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”

After analyzing its budget recently, the library’s Collection Development team saw an opportunity to bring the library and the local scene together, and so, inspired in part by an article in the Library Journal detailing how the Iowa City Public Library had embarked on a similar endeavor, the Volume Denver program was set into motion.

Before rolling out the program to card holders, though, the library is working on building its database. To that end, Hansen has been reaching out to local artists through a collection of email addresses, and she’s hoping word-of-mouth will bring more music into the fold. With a handful of DPL staff members directly involved with the local scene, such as Park Hill Branch staff member Dave Wilkinson from Wax Trax, Hansen says the momentum is building.

As for how the music will be handled, Hansen says the program currently has multiple options it is working with. “We sort of have two models,” she explains, “one is that we would ask a group or artist to provide a full album and sign a two-year licensing agreement — non-exclusive, of course — that we would allow our users to download. The other model would sort of be if [an artist] wanted to donate a sampler of tracks that we could make available on the website.”

As far as compensation goes, the plans are also tentative. “We’re kind of waiting to see what works for people,” she says, “but we’re going to start with $100 for a full album, and then, we weren’t sure, but if it’s an EP, we’re hoping to do it for $50. We’re hoping that some groups will be interested in exposure and be willing to donate a sampler of a few tracks.”

Ideally, the library would like to launch the site next spring with a healthy selection of local music for cardholders to have access to. The site will be browsable by artist or album, with detailed information about each act and links to the individual websites. With 647,078 CDs checked out from the Denver Public Library system last year, an estimated 400,000 cardholders and over nine million visits to the library’s website alone in 2012, the potential for exposure for the scene to new listeners is obviously immense.

Bands, emcees, musicians and other artists interested in being a part of the library’s Denver Volume project, or for those just looking for more information, can email Hansen and the Collection Development team directly via colldev@denverlibrary.org.


[Thanks to Alex Teitz for contributing this information.]

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