Free Music Archive Receives NEA Arts in Media Grant to Support "Re:Invent:Media"

DATE: April 16, 2014
CONTACT:  Liz Berg

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced today that WFMU's Free Music Archive is one of 886 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Arts in Media grant. The FMA is recommended for a $75,000 grant to support the Re:Invent:Media Project.

Re:Invent:Media is a four-part project that will broaden access to the FMA’s rich and diverse audio library, strengthen public understanding of music in the contemporary digital setting, and foster creativity through hands-on engagement with the arts:

  1. Re:imagine will be our second series of themed multimedia contests and workshops to encourage hands-on engagement through the creation of new works inspired by Creative Commons and the public domain.

  2. An Education Portal and instructional webinars will be developed on the FMA to help educators, audio producers, podcasters, filmmakers, and others navigate the complex rights issues associated with using and appropriating music in new creative projects.

  3. Radio Free Culture is a weekly radio segment/podcast that will explore the changing landscape of music, the arts, and digital technology, as well as celebrate the transformative potential of the digital era.

  4. Mobile Apps will be developed for both iOS and Android platforms, providing mobile and tablet users with full access to the audio works available on the FMA, as well as artist information and music discovery features.


NEA Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, "The NEA is pleased to announce that WFMU's Free Music Archive is recommended for an NEA Art Works grant. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation's artists as they contribute to our cultural landscape."

WFMU's Assistant General Manager, Liz Berg, said, "We are honored to be recommended for the NEA's Arts in Media award for the second time, and it's a great way to commemorate the Free Music Archive's 5th anniversary this month. The Re:Invent:Media project will allow us to expand access to the FMA's 70,000+ songs, to cultivate the creation of new multimedia digital arts projects, and to provide better educational resources for navigating rights issues online."

Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,515 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $76 million in funding. Of those applications, 886 are recommended for grants for a total of $25.8 million.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at, or download this PDF.

The Free Music Archive (FMA) is a social website developed by WFMU with support from the New York State Music Fund and the MacArthur Foundation. The site is built around a publicly-accessible and rapidly-expanding digital library of over 70,000 high-quality legal music downloads in all genres curated exclusively by established arts organizations including museums, artist coalitions, educational institutions, and radio stations. Unlike other websites which restrict access to their core content, the contents of the FMA library are predominantly licensed under the Creative Commons legal framework which unlocks the potential of digital distribution by pre-clearing use in blog posts, podcasts, films, and other creative multimedia projects under a set of terms defined by the rights holders themselves. In its first few years online, the FMA has become a destination for musicians who wish to participate in the open sharing of their works, as well as for independent filmmakers, TV and radio producers, podcasters, journalists, and other artists who seek curated legal music in order to harness the potential of digital distribution for the creative arts.

For press, please contact Liz Berg by e-mail or by phone at 201 521-1416 x226.