cheyenne_h on 12/17/2018 at 08:53PM
After months of uncertainty about our future, the Free Music Archive is joining KitSplit, a camera gear rental platform by and for creators. With KitSplit's support, we will stay up and running for the indefinite future - something we are very relieved to report. Though KitSplit is a for-profit business, the FMA will remain true to its mission of sharing free, curated audio to all.
In the coming weeks, we will reopen artist/curator uploads and our Music Submission form and resume our regularly scheduled audio weirdness, curated playlist posts, and new releases here on our blog.
The Free Music Archive will be one of many educational resources in the KitSplit library - they have a bounty of informative materials on their blog, Viewfinder, and they offer free coaching sessions to women in film and video, which we think is sorely needed and super cool. The Free Music Archive is widely used and loved by indie video producers, and KitSplit wants to make our archive even more accessible and useful by bringing our audio collection to their community's attention.
While this milestone is bittersweet and we're sad to be saying goodbye to WFMU, we are forever in their debt for making the Free Music Archive a reality. We are excited to be able to preserve the archive and continue our essential work of curating the Commons with the support of KitSplit.
Thanks to everyone who supported us during this uncertain time, who reached out with moral support or made donations to keep the lights on, and especially to our amazing, inspiring, awesome community!! We are looking forward to the future for the Free Music Archive as its collections and communities grow, and we hope the best years of the Free Music Archive are yet to come.
For this news in Spanish, please visit the blog at Libre FM - thanks friends for the translation!
cheyenne_h on 12/14/2018 at 03:22PM
Well, today's my last day at the Free Music Archive as Director, and I've been dreading this day for awhile, because I'm really going to miss being here all day, everyday, helping our users, musicians, curators and community members get what they need, running the social media feeds, keeping things organized, and having my mind blown every day by unexpected, wonderful music.
I am extremely happy that the Free Music Archive is in good hands and the new team is already getting their bearings, and I just had a great talk with Danny at KitSplit, who will be the new Director of the FMA. You'll be able to reach him using the FMA contact form and our general contact email address for now. Go to his profile page and say hi!
Though I'm leaving the organization as Director, I'll still be involved as a volunteer and will be able to forward questions or concerns to the right people on the new team.
Deep gratitude and heartfelt thanks to KitSplit for making sure the Free Music Archive will have a home moving forward. I dearly hope that they are able to give it some of the technical TLC we weren't, and I'm confident that the FMA will continue to grow and thrive with their stewardship.
So long for now!
Til next time,
cheyenne_h on 11/29/2018 at 07:11PM
Friends, something wonderful is happening here at FMA, but we can’t give you all the details just yet.
For the time being, we are still suspending new uploads and backing up our MP3 collection at archive.org/details/freemusicarchive, but we’re thrilled that service will NOT be suspended on December 1 as previously indicated.
Thanks for sticking with us during this time of transition, and we can’t wait to tell you all about what’s in store for our beloved Archive!
Expect to hear our big news by the end of December.
cheyenne_h on 11/15/2018 at 05:19PM
Due to a few very generous donations, we are able to keep the site up, as-is, through the end of this month. We will still not be adding any more new uploads to the collection and are proceeding with our plans to back up the entire current MP3 collection at archive.org.
We are in talks with a few organizations who have very substantial interest and whose values align with ours. As negotiations continue, I may write more updates here as we move along and may be able to announce a new parent org for FMA in the coming weeks. Nothing is set in stone though so we still face shutdown, and if you have questions or want to help, please contact us using the Closure Comment form (at the end of this blog post).
In the meantime, donations large and small do keep the lights on here, and we are so thankful for your support!
cheyenne_h on 11/08/2018 at 12:38PM
Due to traffic, the site's been up and down today. Please DO NOT try to scrape the site, friends! We will keep all the music available here until it is available at archive.org, where you can continue to explore the collection, download (even different audio formats!) and mark stuff as 'favorites'!
Thanks for all the love and support you've given thus far. Donations help in the short term. We are in talks with a couple of orgs who might be able to help us out. Watch this space for details.
If you have skills to offer, are part of an interested organization who wants to help FMA, or have other feedback, please use our form in the post below.
cheyenne_h on 11/05/2018 at 11:28AM
We regret to inform you that due to a funding shortage, the FMA will be closing down later this month. The future of the archive is uncertain, but we have done everything we can to ensure that our files will not disappear from the web forever. The full audio collection will be backed up and available at https://archive.org/details/freemusicarchive (some of the collection is already there; feel free to go browse).
We are also partnering with Archive-It to preserve a current copy of the site's public pages in the Wayback Machine. FMA audio will also be added to the Creative Commons project CC Search, a search engine for the Commons, later in 2019.
The site may go down as early as November 9th, so now's the time to download your playlists, favorite songs, and do whatever personal archiving you need.
Want to help us preserve the FMA or make your own custom FMA collection? You have two good options:
1) Go to https://webrecorder.io/, make a free account and record some browsing sessions. You can save pages, search results, and much more using this tool (I've already done some serious browsing & recording - check out my collections here). If you want to share your sessions with us, we can compile a crowdsourced repository. The site may go down at the end of this week, so if you are going to do this, please do it soon.
2) Go to the Wayback Machine homepage and plug in the URLs you want to save. These are then archived for the public to use. There are browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox that make this super easy. Some pages are saved already, but many of them are outdated, so save away!
Share this information far and wide; we don't want our hard work (and amazing collection) to be forgotten. There is hope that we can find a new parent organization to help us continue the project, but for now, we must take a break and figure out the best course to proceed. We are interested in hearing from anyone who wants to offer web development help, funding, nonprofit status, or has other suggestions. There is a comment form below for this purpose; please put your feedback there.
Thanks, most of all, to you - our amazing community! From the volunteers who helped us maintain the site and bring new artists on board, to the curators and bands whose contributions diversified our collections, to our funders, to the folks that used the site everyday and made it the legendary corner of the web that it truly was. It was an amazing nine years, and we are extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished together.
Please Note: The Comment Form Has Been Closed.
cheyenne_h on 11/04/2018 at 10:00PM
When I joined this project more than four years ago, I knew I was taking the reins of a project that was truly unique. I would have endless opportunities to sharpen my audio skills, interview great minds and passionate artists, engage with a vibrant and global music community, be an advocate for Creative Commons, and educate the public about copyright and its alternatives. I was right about all of this, but there was so much more to the job. The site, though clearly ‘vintage’ and in need of repair, still functioned well enough for everyone to have their basic needs met.
What I did not realize when I began this journey was that I was being given a rare and precious gift. The Free Music Archive wasn’t just a giant digital repository for shareable audio; it was a complex and constantly changing project with a broad mission and monthly traffic in the millions. When I would tell people what I did for a living, I was shocked at how many of them already knew about FMA.
The original infrastructure degraded and caused ongoing technical issues that we simply lacked the resources to address. It was a challenge that we never quite figured out a working solution to. I am extremely grateful to everyone who offered suggestions, alerts, troubleshooting, reporting, and creative solutions -- and to those who offered their understanding when I revealed that there were only two staffers running the entire FMA and our resources were already overstretched. Our To-Do list was always long and our Wish List even longer.
All of these factors contributed to the situation that we face today: the imminent closure of the Free Music Archive. Its audio collection is being added to the Internet Archive as I write this, and I am pleased to announce that the site will be preserved to the best of our ability in the Wayback Machine. As with our entire operation, nothing has been perfect, but the imperfections were evidence of the ongoing nature of our work and how uncharted these waters are. If anything, the shortcomings of the FMA were a fundamental part of what made it real - if a little annoying at times.
When I announced to artists and curators that the site was going to be suspending operations in late October, I was inundated with replies ranging from grief, to anger, to deep gratitude and well-wishes. This project has changed lives for the better; it has forged entire music careers from simple online posts; it has helped facilitate a new way of approaching music licensing and audio sharing in the digital age. A few short years after our legendary Birthday Song contest, the classic Happy Birthday anthem was rightfully released to the public domain. We cannot take full credit, naturally, but we were part of the creative activism and consciousness-raising around copyright issues that the web has made possible. We are proud to make noise and be joyfully disruptive.
Having been the captain of this rickety ship for years, I share some grief and anger about the huge loss this shuttering represents to musicians, filmmakers, educators, podcasters, radio DJs, video game designers, the Commons, and to the online community at large. But I also have a persistent sense of wonder at the amazing things that this site has made possible: connections spanning continents, age groups, genre affiliations. Real people who made music, being able to share it directly with the public (and sometimes being commissioned to make more, or having work used in media projects and being paid for their art). Netlabels being taken more seriously as legitimate tastemakers and artist collectives. Putting names and faces to songs and, by sharing freely, underscoring the complexity and vibrance of human expression. Demonstrating that you can, indeed, distribute music online for free, legally, with permission from artists. Proving that sharing can actually be a way to make a living.
It wasn’t all silver linings and happy fun times, though. Losing people in the community during my tenure was rough. Seeing the tenderness and care that was offered to friends, family, and colleagues of those who had passed away was humbling, and gave me pause. This site has preserved many artistic legacies, that they may live on and continue to enrich the world. We did our best to shine a light on the recordings left behind by the people who not only made wonderful music, but also gifted it to the Commons.
The unlikely collaborations and artistic freedom that the Free Music Archive has fostered and facilitated will always be a point of pride for me as director of this project. I have made lifelong friends because of the Free Music Archive, and expanded my musical knowledge beyond my wildest imagination.
So this is goodbye, for now, and all I have to say is thank you so very much for being part of this moment, with these people, on this rock in space. The humanity of the archive was its strength, its weakness, and what made it truly special. It had heart in an often heartless world. This project gave me faith in people and the power of their creativity to connect with one another. In the end, I wasn’t just a librarian, I was a tour guide, switchboard operator and emissary for a vital artistic community, and for that I will always be grateful.
May the music play on forever.
cheyenne_h on 11/01/2018 at 02:25PM
The FMA Listening Party has ended its run on Give The Drummer Radio, leaving behind 70 hour-long episodes for your enjoyment! Everything is archived on the playlist pages, and you can download episodes in podcast form if you prefer to listen on-the-go. There are also, of course, FMA playlists via Cheyenne's page.
Thanks to everyone who listened to the show -- and to those of you who are just discovering it, it's never too late the join the Listening Party! There are shows that feature various FMA curators, genres, and the occasional freeform audio blend as well.
TAGGED AS:fma listening party
cheyenne_h on 10/05/2018 at 03:32PM
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.
cheyenne_h on 10/02/2018 at 01:57PM
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 sessions.blue or their FMA collection here: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Blue_Dot_Sessions/