Although the outlaw days of downloading free music from Napster are gone, the question remains: where can music be downloaded legally without the fees typically involved with iTunes?
Luckily, Tarrytown's Warner Library—along with all libraries within the Westchester Library System (WLS)—will now be able to access the entirety of the Sony music catalog.
Actually, at Warner Library you already could go download free music, but now this will come as part of their membership in the WLS, said Warner director Maureen Petry. This means "the library will save a bit on music downloads," she said.
The Freegal project is funded by the WLS and individual county library budgets and each library within the system pays a fee to be part of the WLS. A portion of the money contributed by individual libraries was set aside to pay for the new service.
Westchester is not the first county to have jumped on the Freegal bandwagon, whose current subscribers include the New York Public Library as well as libraries located in Connecticut, Oregon, California, Washington and Virginia. Freegal is operated by the privately-owned, Virginia-based company Library Ideas, LLC.
Unlike e-book downloads, residents utilizing the Freegal site can keep their free music indefinitely. They must, however, access the site through the library website where he or she is a cardholder.
For Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow residents, the Freegal Music Service can be accessed through the Warner Library website and clicking on the "Freegal" link on the right. There you enter a valid library card and pin number. You will be able to search for music in several different categories including artist and genre; MP3s can be loaded onto an iPhone or into iTunes and will work with any MP3 player, according to the website.
"Freegal has primarily the music in the Sony catalog and once the song is downloaded it is yours forever unlike e-books which zap off your tablets and e-readers like Mission Impossible," said Petry. "Music fans will probably find some but not all of the music they enjoy."
There is a three-week limit per library card holder on the downloads. More questions? Here is the link to the FAQ page at Freegal.