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cheyenne_h on 10/05/2018 at 03:32PM

Technical Issues: Update!

We *WISH* our infrastructure was this organized (and color-coded)! Photo via Flickr Commons.

Hi everyone! We know we are experiencing issues today: slowdowns, some login and uploading troubles, search results not returning properly, and a few reports of error messages being returned when they are using FMA. We are aware of these issues and appreciate your patience as we work them out. As you may know, we are staffed by one full-time and one part-time person, so things will be fixed but probably not immediately. 

Thanks so much for your patience and for letting us know you were experiencing issues. 

Having a new issue, or something not mentioned in this post? Please fill out our Contact Form with details. 


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cheyenne_h on 10/02/2018 at 01:57PM

FMA Q&A: Blue Dot Sessions

Courtesy of Galen Huckins

If you've looked for instrumental music for podcasts or film, you've probably come across Blue Dot Sessions. They are a group that write and record music for public radio, podcasts and more. They're based out of Turners Falls, a small town in western Massachusetts. They are a studio, not exactly a 'band,' since various composers and musicians appear in their catalog. They are approaching their 100th release to FMA, and we wanted to ask them some questions about their work. My conversation with member Galen Huckins follows:


FMA: How would you describe Blue Dot Sessions (as a group and in terms of genre/style)?

GH: It’s a very pared down style. We’re often trying to strip away a lot of instrumentation to get to a core small ensemble, figure out how few instruments and textures are needed to really make a piece of music work. In terms of genre, it’s hard to say exactly, we’re often working in very different mediums, trying to get a minimalist sound out of a garage-rock setup or working with ultra-quiet classical players, or even drum machines. It feels like more of a density than a genre or a style sometimes.

How did you start off making music (as a group or as individuals)?

GH: I originally started off writing and recording music for my own radio and podcast projects. Some friends and I were traveling down the Mississippi River on an old riverboat and making a podcast about the trip (The River Signal). I found that there wasn’t a lot of music that worked well with long-form audio pieces where the music needs to be so understated and unobtrusive. I started writing more and more and found and we ended up with a whole library of music by the end of the trip.

FMA: What drew you to the Free Music Archive, and why did you want to put your music on our platform? I’m a real believer in alternative copyright and the work of the Creative Commons. Making my own personal projects, I’ve often turned to the Free Music Archive and other CC-licensed work, it’s really an amazing community. I figured that people starting out would really benefit from the work we do like I did from other CC artists. It also helps people find your music, many producers started out scoring little projects with our library because they found it right here at the FMA. Because podcasting has boomed so much in the last few years, people ended up monetizing their projects with ads or crowdfunding. When that started happening we figured out how to blanket license with podcasters and radio producers so they could have access to our whole library on a monthly basis. Our music is now on hundreds of podcasts, NPR, Radiotopia, Gimlet. Honestly, I think that’s just because a lot of the producers on public radio and podcast networks knew our music from their own pre-professional work.

FMA: Can you tell me about some of the places your music has ended up as a result of being on FMA?

GH: The first time hearing our music on the local NPR station was a rush, now we are often on Morning Edition or other programs that I can listen to right where I live. That never gets old. I make a point to look at YouTube every few days to see new uses of our library out in the wild. Sometimes sitting around the studio all day obsessing about fret noises you forget where the music you’re making actually ends up. I have to say I’ve picked up some strange things from YouTube instructionals just because they use our music. I’ve learned fly fishing techniques, fluid-dynamic modeling principles, the history of Nintendo 64 speedrunning. Just this morning I was watching a Christian ASMR channel, I would have never guessed!

FMA: Blue Dot Sessions is a very prolific group. How do you make so much music on such a regular schedule? How do you stay inspired?

GH: One thing that has helped me stay productive is to always be mixing fully composed music with improvisational work. Sometimes you run out of ideas in front of a blank sheet of paper, but if you can get yourself to just play around for a while, you’ll come up with something. We make a point not to stop rolling tape (or whatever we’re supposed to call tape in a mostly digital studio). We make a lot of alternate versions and stem files available through our website and weird little ideas that never quite seemed like a song end up out there in the world... in a Croatian fly fishing tutorial.

FMA: What project are you working on right now (musical or not) that you're excited about?

GH: We just finished a project recording a custom soundtrack for a podcast called Heavyweight. We were working with a mallet percussionist from a nearby university and string players to do a whole session of light and pizzicato ditties with concert marimba in the middle of it all. Scoring short films and podcasts is always a joy because you get to make up a whole little sonic microcosm. There are 2 other podcast scores we’re working on right now as well as our regular recording schedule, it’s been a really busy summer!

To hear some of their music or contact Blue Dot Sessions, check out their page at or their FMA collection here:

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cheyenne_h on 09/21/2018 at 05:48AM

Lava Lamp Meditations: Teal Clods from Tim's House by Dark Meat

photo found at; taken by Laura Carter

A languid, irreverent album, Teal Clods from Tim's House balances between psychedelic and psychotic. With lo-fi vocals, tambourines and steady rhythms to keep things marching on, Dark Meat has released a collection of tracks from various points in their past. Now you, too, can enjoy the fruits of their time spent at Tim's house with a lot of free time and a 4-track recorder. Not for the faint of heart, squares, or anyone offended by strong language. 

According to their liner notes, "In terms of our song-oriented material, that's where we were at our freest, weirdest, most acid-fried and experimental. And shakiest and funniest and most fucked-up too. But, hey, that beans-and-rice combo of fearlessly pushing it and pathetically caving-in was always our thing: musically, socially, financially, psychically. You best believe it was by design, too, Jack."

Tune in below or listen to the whole album here:

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cheyenne_h on 09/19/2018 at 04:14PM

Nenormalizm's Melodic Mycelium

Straight from the underground (literally, figuratively and musically), this new compilation is a bit of a head-scratcher but definitely intriguing for its topic alone: fungi! Nenormalizm Records has compiled a 21-track long album and released it into the wild: the Fungi Compilation. Each track, by a different artist, is named after something related to mushrooms - from colloquial names like "Destroying Angel" to the mycelium itself (the 'root system' of filaments that transfer nutrients and where mushrooms sprout from). If you like a micro-dose of science with your glitchy electronic tunes, this is the compilation for you! If it's not your thing, there's a veritable smorgasbord of other music to check out in our collection. If you're curious, take a bite out of the sample tracks below:

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cheyenne_h on 09/18/2018 at 09:52AM

Captive Portal's playful EP, Toy Sounds Vol. 1

Toy Sounds, Vol. 1 is like espresso for your headphones (or at least a sugar buzz)! This jaunty electronic album will scratch your mid-tempo itch and sports a few crispy samples here and there to liven it up even more. Build-ups, bouncy beats, and bubbly bass bump along while high-end drips and drops keep things moving at a quick pace. This belongs in every video game enthusiast's collection or anyone looking for fast-paced electronic tracks to keep them company at work or at play.

The latest release to FMA from the prolific Chicagoan, Captive Portal, is the 19th album he's added to FMA - we can't wait to hear what he comes up with next!

Listen below: 

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captive portal
cheyenne_h on 08/28/2018 at 04:56PM

5 Tips For Artists Who Want to Join FMA

You may have looked through the FMA's catalogue and thought, "I'd love to be a part of this!" 

If you make music, you can apply to have your music added to our growing collection! We're curated, which means that music must be reviewed before it's included. Here are a few tips that will help you get approved: 

1. If you make electronic music or you're a solo artist, you'll be facing the most competition for inclusion in our archive. We have a LOT of electronic music and solo artists on our site already. Recordings of actual instruments, sampled or played live, are more likely to be included in the archive, and so are musical groups with multiple members. Electronic musicians and solo artists are regularly welcomed into the archive, so don't let that stop you from applying, but if you don't make the cut, it's not personal. 

2. Read up on Creative Commons licenses. Our site is predicated on sharing audio, utilizing the amazing toolset that Creative Commons built. They offer an array of licenses, so do a little research before you apply so you know what we're talking about when we ask you which license you want to use. We ask for a CC license with your submission, so take a moment and look at the license page. 

3. Send audio we can stream for review. We don't accept random file attachments, sorry! Please have your audio somewhere we can stream it - YouTube,, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, your own personal website, etc. If we can't listen to the audio... we can't approve it.  

4. Be original (it's a copyright thing). If you are remixing today's Top 40, that's cool. But we can't accept your remixes in our archive, because they contain samples of audio that are currently protected by copyright, and we're going to guess you didn't pay the artist to make your remix. Original work stands a better chance of getting into the collection. If you must use audio samples, make your own or find other CC-licensed works to draw from, such as huge collection at

5. Be patient. We have a tiny staff and a small pool of reviewers. So if you don't hear from us within seconds of submitting your music, it's because we're busy! We typically take two weeks to get back to artists with a message of approval or rejection.

Ready to send us a submission? Great! Go fill out our form. You'll hear from us within two weeks. 

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cheyenne_h on 08/20/2018 at 12:39PM

August Newsletter - did you miss it?

The best part of our newsletter - monthly top 8!

Are you on our mailing list? If not, you're missing out on top news AND monthly faves from our archive! If you don't have time to listen to all the new uploads on FMA, it's ok - we do it for you! Each month's newsletter will have 8 staff picks, with something for just about everyone. You can read our August newsletter to get a taste of what you're missing.

Wanna subscribe? Sign up here.

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cheyenne_h on 08/15/2018 at 02:13PM

4 Reasons You Might Encounter a Content ID Match on YouTube

YouTube's sadface for copyright violators.

It happens to many of us at one time or other - a copyright claim on a video you've uploaded to YouTube!

[*dramatic music plays*]

How does this happen? Through YouTube's "Content ID" system.

Content ID relies on third-party companies that feed YouTube content to "watch" for matches. If your video is flagged, it simply means that the video or audio has matched to something in a Content ID database. Don't worry! The best approach is to reach out to the artists themselves, and I'll explain why below. You're not alone. And you may be confused about why this has happened to you, even though you may have been using correct attribution and meeting the requirements of the license. There are a few potential reasons - and that's why I'm writing this. 

1. The music you tried to upload isn't licensed for video. 

Oops! Did you read the license? If it has "ND" anywhere in it, that means it's not intended for use in video without further permission. That means that anything licensed CC BY-ND or CC BY-NC-ND is not intended for use in video. Period. YouTube is the biggest online video platform there is - so it's the first place most musicians want to protect themselves and their intellectual property when it comes to derivative uses (like videos).

If you want to use something with an ND in the license for video, you need to ask the artist for permission. The FMA cannot license music, and we cannot change licenses to suit your needs, so please don't ask. If we have contact info or leads, we can occasionally help people out with getting in touch with an artist, though. 

2. An artist wants to share their audio, but also wants to make sure you're doing it right.

Some artists on the FMA use YouTube's Content ID system to protect their intellectual property, and by registering their work with ContentID, they are able to keep tabs on how, and where, their tracks are being used. If this happens to you, don't panic - wait until you have talked to the artist about it. They may be using ContentID to ping them when someone is using their track, and to make sure it is in compliance with the license they used to share it. 

Many artists have added notes to their profiles about this very thing, and if they haven't, we recommend reaching out directly to the artist if you get a Content ID match from a video with their song included. Many artists, upon seeing that a track is properly attributed/shared, will waive the copyright claim and everybody's happy -- but it is best if you ask them about it if you get a claim on your video.

3. A troll may have registered an artist's music to Content ID without their knowledge in an attempt to monetize music they did *not* make. 

Since artists can't manage their catalogues in YouTube's Content ID system directly (third party services do this for them), some may not even realize it's being claimed (or by whom)! This isn't common, but it does happen. So, if you noticed something weird going on with a track you thought you could use, please contact the artist! You could be alerting them to abuse or misuse of their music and preventing a freeloader from making money off of art they did not make. 

4. An artist has chosen to share music on FMA, and wants to control distribution on YouTube.

Some artists use ContentID to monetize videos that contain their music. This is a tricky one, because technically, they are allowed to do so, according to the way ContentID works. It favors the rightsholders of music pieces (and things like TV and films that already exist) more than the creative work that a videographer may have put into a video. This can seem unfair to video makers, since they may not be allowed to monetize a video they created, and their video may be subject to an advertisement they didn't plan on.

This is another example of "Talk to the artist about it" -- they may agree that compromise is the best route and remove the ad. Or they may encourage you to add a different soundtrack to your video, because they are making money off of the song on other YouTube videos. Everyone is different - we have more than 20,000 artists on our site, so it varies from person to person. 

Since the FMA has had no luck when trying to contact YouTube for information about what is in their Content ID databases, we cannot predict which songs may match from our site to theirs. If we had the capacity to predict or manage this, we would love to, but we cannot do so without their cooperation. To all you cranky users who have had this happen and demand that music be removed from the archive because of it: sorry, but the Free Music Archive's collection doesn't exist solely for use in YouTube videos. Quite the contrary; we only remove music at the request of artists or rightsholders. 

If you make videos often, YouTube has a bunch of resources, including this helpful article, that you might want to bookmark! We also have a whole section of our site, Music For Video, with pre-selected songs for use in videos. And a FAQ for Filmmakers. And this article. And a License Guide. All free, all here to help you. And we hope this article was helpful, too.

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cheyenne_h on 08/14/2018 at 05:44PM

REAK △ Sanca Birawa △ Transe in Indonesia by Les Cartes Postales Sonores

Here's something you don't hear everyday! A field recording from the outskirts of Bandung in West Java in Indonesia. "REAK, a ritual from an animistic past clinging to an urban present," according to the liner notes. Music propels the participants into a deep trance, exchanging consciousness for an invisible, wild spirit, a transition from human to animal consciousness. This hour-long sonic journey was captured by Les Cartes Postales Sonores, and this bit of audio ephemera from the other side of the globe is shared below, on its own album page, and on Bandcamp. You can listen to the tracks below, or watch this short documentary about it: 

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cheyenne_h on 08/13/2018 at 10:37AM

Foo Fest 2018 Is Coming!

FOO FEST is AS220's annual summer block party all-ages fundraiser in downtown Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday, August 18th, 2018!

From 1 PM to 1 AM, outside on Empire Street and inside AS220, people of all ages will delight in 12 incredible hours of music, art, performance, kid and family-friendly activities, hands-on interactive art experiences from local artists, makers, and like-minded arts and cultural organizations, delectable food and drink, and much more, all highlighting arts, culture, and creativity in Providence and the Ocean State!

We've included some of the tracks from their preview mix below, but you can listen to the full sampler here! You can also listen to previous years' samplers at the AS220 FMA page.

For tickets visit here.

Via AS220 » Visit Blog » 1 COMMENTS Share
foo fest, as220
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