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Seattle Public Library Providing Outlet For Local Bands

Seattle Public Library
Local musicians can submit their music to an online platform


If you’re a local musician or band looking for new ways to get your music out there, you’re in luck. The Seattle Public Library has opened its submission period for a project called “Playback.”

Playback is a streaming service put together by the library a few years ago as a way to showcase the city’s musical culture. Kate Sellers, SPL's assistant managing librarian for technical services, explains that culture covers a wide variety of artists. She has been heavily involved in the selection process.


“When we set out and were talking about the submission period for the first round that we did and we were talking to the jurists, sort of thinking our game plan through, we really wanted to make sure that we were getting what’s actually there and we wanted as broad a range of that as possible,” Sellers said.


That effort has paid off with rock bands like Your Heart Breaks, dance and electronic music performed by Miha Sarani, and soul albums by locals such as Champagne Honeybee. The collection also includes rap, hip-hop, folk, funk and classical. About 150 albums from local artists have been included so far since the program began.


It might seem a little unusual for the library to get involved in the local music scene in this way. But it’s actually a way to collect what staff call “artifacts” to preserve for future generations, which is definitely in a library’s wheelhouse.


Plus, as musician D’Vonne Lewis says, it’s a way to promote discovery. His group, Industrial Revelation, is included in the Playback collection.


“You get to find out about these other bands and groups that you really don’t have the opportunity to really go check out because you’re always gigging at the same time," Lewis said. "So I think it’s cool that this program is there for local musicians where Seattle’s like a city of music.”


The submission period is open through the end of July. Artists are added to the collection through a jury process and receive $200 if their album is chosen. Musicians will be notified by the fall if they will be added to the collection.


Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.