The New Orleans Public Library will launch a new music streaming platform this summer featuring exclusively local musicians. Crescent City Sounds will feature albums from a range of lesser-known and up-and-coming New Orleans musicians, curated by a community jury panel, when it launches in late July. And using the platform will be free, even without a local library card, at crescentcitysounds.org.
New Orleans musicians take note: Crescent City Sounds is currently accepting submissions for the platform through June 18. All genres are welcome, and artists accepted onto the platform will receive a $250 honorarium.
“We want the collection to reflect the diversity of the music scene,” says library associate Joshua Smith, who led the Crescent City Sounds project.
Crescent City Sounds will be similar to platforms created by other public library systems already broadcasting across the country and in Canada, including Seattle, Salt Lake City, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Edmonton, Alberta. Smith says a colleague in Texas told him about the success of Electric Lady Bird, the Austin Public Library’s streaming service, and he felt it was natural to bring it to the music community. of New Orleans.
Like Electric Lady Bird, Edmonton’s Capital City Records, Chapel Hill’s Tracks and the library’s other music services, Crescent City Sounds will use MUSICat, a platform created by software developers Rabble.
Once a year, the New Orleans Public Library will open a new music submission period through crescentcitysounds.org. Musicians and bands must primarily perform in New Orleans and recordings cannot be more than five years old. Only one track can be submitted for consideration, but if accepted, the artist or band must submit a minimum of four songs or at least 20 minutes of music – the idea is to host EPs and albums on Crescent City Sounds.
The music will be hosted on Crescent City Sounds for five years, and the license is non-exclusive, so artists retain the right to do whatever they want with their music. Crescent City Sounds has a budget to release 30 albums and pay fees in 2022, Smith says, and he hopes that budget will increase in the future.
Submissions will be heard by a panel of local musicians, industry professionals, and New Orleans music enthusiasts along with Smith and library staff to help choose new albums added to Crescent City Sounds. This year, that team includes New Orleans emcee Alfred Banks, MidCitizen and Tank co-founder and Bangas manager Tavia Osbey, Lefty Parker of Euclid Records and WWOZ DJ and journalist and former columnist by Gambit Alison Fensterstock.
“New Orleans is a city of musicians. We make some of the best music in the world here,” Banks told NOPL’s Marie Simoneaux. “But it’s true that without the people who provide real opportunities for our local musicians, they might never be heard, even if they’re the best.”
The library is a champion of free speech, so there aren’t many rules about music submissions, Smith says, except for one: no hate speech. Otherwise, Crescent City Sounds wants to reflect the musical community of New Orleans as it is today.
A section of Crescent City Sounds will also be dedicated to old concert posters, bringing together New Orleans music history through the bands that have played in the city over the years. Users can now submit their own posters on the website.
Crescent City Sounds will launch in July. Musicians and bands can find more information and submit music through June 18 at crescentcitysounds.org.