From First Avenue to the Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota’s rich music scene has produced some incredible artists over the decades. And now, with a simple library card, you can be a part of the local scene, and perhaps be the first one to discover the next great breakout talent.
MnSpin is the place to go to explore new music created and performed by Minnesota musicians. Developed by the Hennepin County Library, MnSpin has collected the work and music of over 50 local musicians and compiled them all on the MnSpin website for you to stream and download completely for free. Inspired by similar library music projects developed in Seattle, Portland, and Nashville, HCL has created an innovative platform for Minnesota musicians to not only publish their work, but for the rest of us to easily find and enjoy their music.
Library Director Lois Langer Thompson explains, “Libraries have a long tradition of making music available to patrons, including sheet music, vinyl records, cassettes or CDs. This project makes local music available to our patrons in a 21st century format — by streaming and download.”
The MnSpin collection features music from a variety of genres including rock, hip-hop, folk, country, classical, R&B, jazz, and pop that is produced by both seasoned musicians, who have spent years recording and performing at popular venues, and by new emerging artists just starting to build their careers. MnSpin wants to represent all Minnesotans, and reflect the diversity of ideas and unfiltered individual experiences in our community. This includes music that may be controversial or offensive to some individuals. Director Thompson adds, “We have such a rich and diverse local music scene, and any music lover can find something new and exciting through MnSpin.”
The songs and artists for the MnSpin site were chosen by a panel of local music experts that include:
Dan Gaarder, a music-instrumentalist/vocalist who has been working the Twin Cities music scene for over 30 years.
Maria Jette, vocal performer of classical and contemporary music.
Brianna Lane, a touring singer/songwriter.
Andrea Pierre, multidisciplinary artist and founder and co-host of The Discourse on 98.9 KRSM.
J.D. Steele, singer for The Steeles, songwriter, and director of the MacPhail Community Youth Choir.
Malik Watkins, independent hip-hop artist better know as MaLLy.
Bo Weber, alternative/pop solo artist and creator of the publication Music in Minnesota.
Once a year during open submissions, any Minnesota artist can submit their work for consideration by the above MnSpin panel. For those selected, they will not only garner more exposure and recognition for their music but also receive a $200 stipend to help produce more albums.
Anyone can stream songs and albums from the MnSpin website collection for free, though if you have a library card you’re able to actually download the songs for no charge and listen to them anywhere. Definitely take the time to explore the site and if you don’t know where to start, first download the MnSpin Sampler album that showcases and introduces you to a variety of artists. You might just find that your next favorite band or artist is living right here in the cities.
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