With MnSpin, all you need to download free music is a library card

Hennepin County Library just debuted its MN-centric streaming service.

If you want to stream music from Minnesota artists, you don't need Apple Music or Spotify. All you need is a library card.

The Hennepin County Library launched MnSpin on Wednesday. It's a new music streaming and download platform that gives music lovers and seekers access to albums by local artists and groups. 

After seeking submissions earlier this year, the library received around 325 contributions. A panel made up of five local music experts and library staff members – including Maria Jette, Jessica Rau, Jon Jon Scott, and J.D. Steele – then curated a selection of 53 Minnesota music acts that the library says "reflects our community’s varied and vibrant music scene."

The final MnSpin collection includes rock, hip-hop, folk, country, R&B, jazz and more. Each musical act was paid a $200 stipend for use of one album.

Some of the artists are newer to the Twin Cities scene (including Tufawon, Strange Relations and the Lowland Lakers), while others have been recording and performing in major venues for years (Tina & the B-Sides, Michael Monroe and the Belfast Cowboys, to name a few).

The library says MnSpin is modeled after similar programs in cities like Seattle, Portland and Nashville.

“Libraries have a long tradition of making music available to patrons, including sheet music, vinyl records, cassettes or CDs,” Library Director Lois Langer Thompson said in a news release. “This project makes local music available to our patrons in a 21st century format – by streaming and download. We have such a rich and diverse local music scene, and any music lover can find something new and exciting through MnSpin.”

Musicians will have another opportunity to submit music in 2018, though details are still being determined. Check for updates at www.hclib.org next year.

A library card registered with Hennepin County Library is required to download music from MnSpin. Sign up for one here.

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