Starting Friday, a library card will give people access to a catalogue of local music from local artists. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is launching STACKS, an online platform developed by tech company Rabble.
Rabble CEO and co-founder Kelly Hiser, who is based in Pittsburgh, said STACKS isn't just a localized version of Spotify — for one, artists get paid through the library's collections budget.
"We've designed the sites to really encourage people to explore what's going on in their local community, and to get out there and listen to local music and engage with artists they like online in different ways," Hiser said.
Platforms similar to STACKS have launched in libraries in Austin, Tex., Madison, Wis. and Seattle, Wash.
The program is launching with music from 40 local artists across a variety of genres, according to the Library's Director of Digital Strategy Toby Greenwalt. People with library cards can download the music for free.
"Anybody who's interested in new music is going to really enjoy the collection," Greenwalt said. "And knowing that it's going to grow over time I think will help people coming back."
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will put out a call for new artists to add to the STACKS collection twice a year. Those artists will be chosen by a jury of library staff and community members involved in Pittsburgh's music scene.
WESA receives funding from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. This story was updated Sunday, February 10 at 7:57 p.m. to reflect the launch day is Friday.