The legacy of Free Music Archive
Free Music Archive is closing down. One of the world's largest archives of free music will no longer be after this week and WMP is grieving.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a Creative Commons event in Lisbon where I had the chance to reflect on the importance of the licenses for my podcast (and for my life, actually). Before me, Monster Jinx's boss, Darksunn, went on the stage to share his experience as a Creative Commons user. At some point, he mentioned how having their music on Free Music Archive was a complete game-changer. It was my "mission accomplished" - I couldn't be any prouder. Being able to give artists that produce free music a boost in exposure was always one of the show's mission, if not the main one.
White Market Podcast became a Free Music Archive curator back in December 2012. I remember writing them an email asking about becoming a curator. At the time, the show was still in Portuguese (something you can still find in the URLs), so the main goal of such partnership was to serve as a window for some of the best Portuguese netaudio records. As the show readjusted its action and purpose, being an FMA curator allowed me to give a new life to some of my favourite netaudio records that nearly got lost in time and some extra exposure to some newer ones. Ultimately, being a curator for FMA became one of WMP's core activities, one that was well underlined in our mission statement.
The end of an era
When WMP started in 2008, there was no FMA, but its existence allowed the show to survive past the decade. Our new tag page makes it very clear: since our 2015 comeback, FMA was mentioned on this blog 42 times; almost twice as much as the second runner-up. It's also no coincidence that Cheyenne Hohman, FMA's director in the last few years, is the only guest to have been featured twice on the show so far, in 2015 and 2016. With an incredible search engine and a music-oriented design (even if a bit outdated by now), FMA was one of the most valuable resources in the hunt for openly-licensed music not only for WMP, but also for other projects such as Starfrosch. As the FMA prepares to say goodbye, there is this feeling of uneasiness that comes with knowing that nothing will be the same for open music, even if their catalogue becomes available in other places.
As for the legacy of what WMP achieved as an FMA curator, you can find an index table of all the records uploaded on our GitHub repo. The table currently includes Wayback Machine links for each record page on FMA and will be updated with the respective download links on Archive.org, once the migration is complete. The index file also lists number of plays and downloads, as well as the attached license to each work.
If you have physical and/or financial means of helping Free Music Archive, make sure to get in touch with them. If you were a user or curator, spread the word and help archiving the website's legacy.
WMP Stats as an FMA Curator*
- 454 songs uploaded
- 48 records uploaded
- 1606455 plays
- 812129 downloads
*as of November 6th 2018