There are currently six library systems in the USA and Canada that are using the technology provided by MUSICat , using software developed by a university spin-off at the University of Wisconsin-Madison . The idea behind this project is to provide libraries with software that reflects their values, providing users with access to free access to local music. The developers of this software, RABBLE, openly release their source code in order to reach libraries and help with to design and build solutions for them .
With MUSICat, local musicians benefit form a one-time payment form the library, and from the exposure that having their songs in the library generates. Libraries are becoming centres for creative activities, so partnering with them is very positive for these artists. For the user, most of the music is available for free to listen to online, although to be able to download the songs a library card is required .
The technology for this software came about when the founder, Kelly Hiser, was completing her Ph.D. in musicology and when she did her fellowship at the local public library. The technology behind music lending available at the library led to the idea for RABBLE, the creation of a large base of local music available to patrons .