Greetings, from Rabble at the end of 2018! We're ending the year with a flurry of activity as five libraries are in the process of launching local music collections with MUSICat. This means a lot of new local music is coming our way in 2019, and we can't wait to hear it.

As we look forward to 2019, we're taking a moment to look back on everything we've accomplished over the past year…

So. Many. Site. Launches.

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We launched two new collections and two opening submission rounds with some fantastic library partners. Salt Lake City’s HUM published its first batch of albums, along with an incredibly cool collection of gig posters. Multnomah County Library published the largest opening MUSICat collection to date (over 130 albums!) with their Library Music Project.

More recently, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh opened submissions for STACKS, which the library envisions as "an ongoing document of the region’s vital, evolving music scene." Austin Public Library began its first submission round for Electric Lady Bird, which will gives folks an opportunity to "explore the more niche, DIY corners of Austin’s music scene." Both libraries will publish their opening collections early in 2019.

This fall, we also launched MUSICat Chorus, a version of our local music platform for libraries serving smaller populations. Three midwestern libraries are building collections that will launch in 2019: Appleton's FlipSide, Davenport's QC Beats, and Eau Claire's Sawdust City Sounds. We know that talented musicians live and work everywhere, and we're excited to help these libraries build collections with their communities.

We're going to South by Southwest!

We are over the moon that SXSW invited us to speak about our work with public libraries and librarians next year. Raquel Mann (Edmonton Public Library), Dale Kittendorf (Austin Public Library) and Jacquea Mae (Pittsburgh musician and STACKS juror) will join our CEO Kelly Hiser to share with the SXSW crowd how libraries are shaping themselves into sites for innovation in the music industry. Let us know if you'll be there!

We had a blast at conferences and events.

Preston, Raquel Mann of EPL, Glenn, and Kelly at PLA in Philadelphia

Preston, Raquel Mann of EPL, Glenn, and Kelly at PLA in Philadelphia

We loved seeing many of you at the Public Library Association conference in Philadelphia this past March (and we were sorry to miss some of you because of snow!). Kelly spoke about our journey as a values-driven company at Madison's Social Good Summit. We talked with librarians and soaked up so much wisdom at ALA in New Orleans and the Library Journal Directors' Summit in San Diego.

MUSICat grew.

We built new tools to support librarians as they expand their visions about what their local music collections can be. Highlights include more robust support for poster collections, and new features that allow librarians to build pages that showcase elements of their local music scene, from historic icons to current music venues. We added the ability for visitors to star tracks they so they can assemble a list of their personal favorites.

Sample from the HUM poster collection

Sample from the HUM poster collection

We also did a ton of work to make MUSICat more powerful and efficient behind the scenes. We rolled out a set of improvements to MARC record exports, we built an entire new server environment for our sites, and we added a range of new configuration tools that help librarians customize their sites. Finally, we added a new class of less-privileged administrator, the contributor, which can help with maintaining  posters collections or showcases without being allowed to configure the rest of MUSICat.

We're gearing up for so much more in 2019.

Look out for lots of site launch announcements in 2019. We're building more new partnerships than ever, and we can't wait to see where the new year takes us.

On the development side, our big priority in the new year is the launch of our mobile app, which will be available for Android and iOS. We'll also be adding support for video collections, so look out for some great new content in Multnomah's Library Music Project.

We're in the process of building a new open source transcoder, which brings us closer to our goal of making a public distribution of our source code available to any library that wants to use it.

Thank you for your work with us.

As always, we remain incredibly grateful to our library partners, and the many librarians who work with us day in and day out to build a better future for public libraries and their communities. As we continue to meet passionate and talented people working in this space, we grow ever more committed to helping libraries engage creative folks in their communities through digital public spaces. Thank you for continuing to imagine new ways to build public good.

The whole team sends our best wishes to you and yours as we look forward to the new year.

Happy new year, from Kelly, Preston, and Glenn!