Stream the music you want. When you want it. No ads. No charge.
Who wouldn’t like the concept?
It didn’t take patrons of the Kansas City Public Library long to discover — and take advantage of — the upgraded offerings of Freegal Music . Its catalog of some 7 million songs was made available via online streaming in February 2014. By the end of that month, nearly 13,000 tracks had been accessed by Library card-holders.
The streaming is unlimited, available 24-7, and more flexible than other services that allow users to specify genres of music but not particular songs. With Freegal, patrons can create personal playlists. Or they can listen to an entire album of their choosing.
“To use an appropriate term, it’s a hit,” says Joel Jones, the Library’s deputy director of branch and library services. “Freegal’s downloads have always been popular – they’re yours to keep – but there are limits.
“There’s no ceiling on streaming. You can listen to as much as you want for as long as you want. I use it on my (smart) phone at the YMCA. Before I climb on the treadmill, I just go to the ’80s classic rock selections or whatever else I’m in the mood for and pick a playlist. It’s so easy.”
The Library has offered Freegal’s downloaded music since late 2012, recently raising its limit on downloads from three to five songs a week.
Freegal’s streaming service was added just as KCPL began featuring another service, Hoopla , that makes music, television shows, movies, and audiobooks available via online streaming. Between them, they give Library card-holders a wide-ranging menu of no-cost digital entertainment.
Hoopla’s ever-expanding digital collection  counts some 100,000 music CDs; 10,000 audiobooks; 3,000 movies; and 500 TV series. Because the Library is charged each time an item is checked out on one of its cards, it limits users to 15 items per card per month (with each TV episode counting as an item).
Via Hoopla, Kansas City Public Library patrons downloaded more than 900 music albums, videos, and audiobooks in February.