New library service allows free, legal music downloads

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 11, 2015


EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — Library card holders in Eastpointe, Roseville and other communities that are part of the Suburban Library Cooperative now have access to the Freegal music service, which allows them to download and stream music legally and free of charge.

Roseville Public Library Director of Adult Services Tracy Wilson said people can use their library card and PIN to sign on to the service online, where they can then download up to five songs a week and stream music up to three hours a day.

“The music is yours to keep when you download it,” Wilson said. “There are actually Android and Apple apps you can get for Freegal; you can have music downloaded to your phone or your device.”

Neither library visitors nor the libraries themselves pay for Freegal; she said it is a free service as part of the cooperative.

Tammy Turgeon, director of the Suburban Library Cooperative, said it would have been prohibitively expensive for individual libraries to participate in Freegal. While she said she could not disclose the details of the agreement with Freegal, she noted that, collectively, there is a 45 percent discount in the cost through the cooperative, rather than if every library had entered into it individually.

“That’s why it’s so good to be in a cooperative,” Eastpointe Memorial Library Director Carol Sterling said. “Each of us doing this individually would cost us so much more.”

The money for Freegal comes out of the cooperative’s budget, Turgeon said, which is in turn received from grants, donations, state funds and money from member libraries.

“We always try and support member libraries with new programs that would benefit their residents,” Turgeon said. “Last year we did the Zinio program, which is for digital magazines, so we wanted to expand into music.”

The benefit to using Freegal, she said, is that local libraries can access far more music digitally — a format more popular among younger visitors — than they could afford by purchasing CDs.

Wilson said the music library is advertised as having more than 7 million songs, including the entire Sony Music catalog.

The service started among the cooperative’s libraries Dec. 1. Wilson said they had 295 song downloads with Roseville library cards in December, but that number jumped to 1,486 in January. February numbers were not available at press time.

Among Eastpointe residents, Sterling said, the library saw 154 downloads in December and 403 in January, but only nine in February.

“We want to get the word out more,” Sterling said.

Access to Freegal is available by going to and setting up an account through the login link. Staff at the Eastpointe or Roseville library can assist in setting up an account.