Back in December of 2013, the Denver Public Library put out a call to local musicians asking for song and album submissions to be considered for a future database that could be accessed by DPL card holders. Just like other media available for free through the system, once in place, users would get a chance to listen to music from artists all over Colorado. A few weeks ago, the Volume Denver project went live and in its first run is offering 38 EPs and full-length records from local musicians, all of which are available to the public for free streaming and download.
The library is hoping to eventually have more records available, chosen from a pool of music submitted during different times throughout the year. “We have the resources both in terms of dollars and staff time to support about hundred new albums a year,” says Zeth Lietzau, who is part of the team of DPL staffers working on the project. Lietzau says because the program got started later in the year, it only has had two submission periods, but generally the call will happen four times each year.
Through the site, users can search categories like pop, Americana and hip-hop to find records by local artists — or use the search bar to find an artist or album by name. Each musician or band included in the Volume Denver project gets a home page of sorts, with a bio and various links for listeners to find out more. If a user logged in to the DPL website, they can stream or download the music directly. Visitors to the site who are not logged in will get a 30 second preview clip of any song.
But the best feature might be the “playlists,” user-created playlists made from the music featured on Volume Denver. These are available for anyone to listen to right from the homepage, and anyone who is logged in can also create their own playlist to share.
“To get exposure for musicians is ultimately one of the goals of this site,” says Lietzau. “We had no idea what to expect when we started this and the quality is just amazing. People seem to be excited about it; I do really think that once word gets out a little bit more and once people start seeing it, it has the potential to be a really great thing for our community.”
Currently, artists get one-time compensation for sharing their music with the database when submissions are accepted. This agreement is good for two years; once the time period is up, the library will contact the artist about future sharing and go from there. Lietzau says the Volume Denver project is still in its beginning stages and hopes to keep the music library growing and rotating as it moves forward. For right now, the library is figuring it out as it goes along.
Volume Denver is currently taking EP and full-length album submissions from local artists through September 20. For more information or to submit music, visit the Volume Denver website.
By Bree Davies