Library asks more local musicians to join MnSpin streaming service

Most Minnesotans already know about Prince and Bob Dylan, but the Hennepin County Library wants to bring more attention to new music being made right here in Minnesota.

As hip-hop artist Tufawon, Rafael Gonzelez raps about his life growing up with a mixed Puerto Rican and Indigenous heritage in Minneapolis.

"The underlying message for my music is freedom. My music is always connected to freedom and that is what I'm about," Gonzalez said.

Now, a local library is putting a new spin on how to hear his music.

“It’s a great way to get exposure and listen to music digitally. For a long time there were tapes and CDs; this is a streaming service," he said.

Tufawon has two of the 125 albums featured on the Hennepin County Library system's music streaming service called MnSpin. The platform allows users to listen to new music from Minnesota musicians to help them gain a new audience.

"It’s a way of reaching out to our patrons in a new way of communicating, a different channel. It’s different than iTunes or Spotify. Go to MnSpin and listen to Minnesota music by Minnesota musicians right there on the site," librarian Jeff Radford said.

For its third round of submissions, the library is asking local musicians to submit a song, which will be listened to by group of curators from the local music community. The library hopes to nearly double the number of artists on the site.

Musicians who are selected get to upload an entire album to MN Spin where it can be downloaded by anyone with a library card or streamed from anywhere in the world, free of charge.

"We do have established artists and brand new artists who submit to MnSpin. We have Brother Ali and Atmosphere. We have some folks who recorded something in their basement that sounds pretty good, that's part of MnSpin as well," Radford said.

The library said artists are paid $200 for their music, but Gonzalez said the exposure MnSpin can bring is priceless.

"I hope more people from the library culture learn about more local music. I think it’s already doing that. I can see that happening on a much bigger scale,” Gonzalez said.

The library said musicians must live and perform in Minnesota and the music must have been recorded within the last five years. Musicians can submit a song until March 27.