Posters and flyers, word of mouth, college/underground radio, house shows, record stores, MySpace, Bandcamp, TikTok…
How do you discover local, original music?
Would you guess it can also be through your local library?
In the last few years, the avenues for finding, listening to, and supporting local music have expanded, along with the numbers of artists and bands that call Huntsville and North Alabama home. Into this growing ecosystem in 2021 emerged a unique streaming service from the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library – Blast Music!
Jeremy Parvin, vocalist for Muscle Shoals-based Moon Tree says, “The Huntsville-Madison County Public Library system has played an integral role in making sure that you don’t miss out, from a local perspective! In the era of all things streaming, when it’s easy for local artists to feel overlooked on all the major streaming platforms, Blast is a brilliant, and free resource that showcases the diversity in our very own Tennessee Valley talent pool! We are proud to be cataloged with the area’s finest music makers.”
“If you aren’t listening local, you should be!”
Here’s a few things to know about Blast Music:
- Instant streaming – go to hmcpl.org and start listening. You don’t need a library card or any other login to get great music.
- Over 100 albums of diverse genres of music from all over North Alabama. Not only will you find artists from Huntsville, Blast features musicians from Muscle Shoals, Decatur, Athens, and Albertville.
- Artists are paid upfront. With the help of an endowment from a Huntsville music lover, HMCPL pays Blast artists a $250 honorarium as soon as their album is accepted.
- Blast’s catalog is growing! Through submission rounds in the spring and fall, at least 50 new albums a year are added.
- Follow new favorites. Along with each album is a link to the artist profile. From there, you can follow artists on their social media, find out about upcoming shows, and other news.
- Connect with the music community. Each submission round is vetted by a rotating group of curators who are musicians, producers, and other members of the North Alabama music and arts community. Want to join as a curator? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Bonus – Blast Music is one of dozens of libraries in the United States who are featuring their local scene using the MUSICat platform. Some of these libraries were recently highlighted in a VICE article praising the MUSICat model of providing licensing agreements and upfront payments for local musicians.
Although Blast Music has been live for less than 18 months, the enthusiasm that has come from listeners and the music community has been tremendous. In 2022, Blast artists were featured on stages at PorchFest*FivePoints, the inaugural Camp to Amp Festival on the opening weekend of the Orion Amphitheatre, and at the Scooby Sessions at Straight to Ale. Tracks from Blast artists are also played regularly on WLRH’s Valley Sounds music show.
Along with the outstanding event calendars published by We Are Huntsville, the Huntsville Music Office, and Huntsville Music Scene, plus can’t miss live music series and concerts like Originally Huntsville, PorchFest, Panoply, SluiceFest, Concerts on the Dock, and more, Blast is a fundamental component of a local music lover’s entertainment essentials.
Interested in joining Blast?
The spring 2023 submission round will open from February 1- March 3, 2023. Submission guidelines are at blast.hmcpl.org/faq.
Guest blogger for We Are Huntsville. Are you interested in writing a post for our site? Email email@example.com.