Public Technology Supervisor, Nashville Public Library
MLIS, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 2014
Photo by Patrick Heagney
Maestro of Music City
With the launch of the Nashville Public Library’s (NPL) BoomBox service, Ryan Darrow is bringing local bands from one of the nation’s most storied music scenes to library patrons in their own homes via a Spotify-like streaming service. While the service has facilitated more than 6,000 downloads in the first three months after its October 2016 launch, BoomBox isn’t only about helping local artists get heard. It also provides the library with a chance to engage with the music community.
“We are reaching an audience through NPL BoomBox that we haven’t had many inroads with in the past—the local music scene,” says Darrow.
Built with the aid of music streaming service Rabble, BoomBox’s albums and artists are vetted by library staff and curators; artists receive a one-time honorarium for licensing their music. Then, anyone with Internet access—library card or not—can check out acts such as Daddy Issues, Chancellor Warhol, Roots of a Rebellion, and more, courtesy of the library. Darrow expects to continue to expand the BoomBox library to include more than 100 albums. He’s also hoping to take advantage of new and unexpected opportunities that emerge to work with bands, labels, and concert promoters around Music City.
“I want to answer the question, ‘How might the library become the go-to stop for information about local music?’ ” says Darrow. “We’ve only just begun!”