Podcast: One year of the Yahara Music Library

Librarians Kelly Hiser and Guy Hankel discuss the challenges and lessons of the online local-music project.

Librarians Kelly Hiser and Guy Hankel discuss the challenges and lessons of the online local-music project.


It’s been almost a year since we
took our first look at the Yahara Music Library, a digital collection of Madison-area music created by the Madison Public Library and local startup Murfie. Since YML went live in 2014, its collection of albums has steadily grown from 23 to 58, and even though the creators would like it to be growing faster, they’re doing a good job of maintaining diversity, with selections spanning electronic music, hip-hop, metal, punk, classical, jazz, and much in between—and anyone with a South Central Library System card can access high-quality streams and downloads. The work behind the project has also spawned a new company, Rabble, that is developing similar resources for other libraries who might not have the resources to build them on their own.

Two of the project’s co-founders—Rabble CEO Kelly Hiser and Madison Public Library reference Librarian Guy Hankel—joined me at WORT-FM studios this week for a wide-ranging conversation about the technical and legal challenges of the project, where they hope to take it in the next year, and what kind of role public libraries can play in strengthening local music communities. Oh, and the songs you hear in the segment are both from albums available on YML: “Deck Echoes” by Double Ewes and “Kanu” by Tani Diakite. Thanks to WORT’s Dylan Brogan for producing the segment. A shorter version aired this week on WORT’s In Our Backyard news show, and you can hear our joint Tone Madison-WORT radio stories on that show every Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.

Get your new monthly donation matched 24x!

tone madison logo in blue and yellow

At a time when Madison is going through a lot of change, we want Tone Madison to be something you can count on. You can rely on us to spotlight the artists, musicians, and ideas that make up the fabric of our city. You can rely on us to challenge the status quo with inventive, adversarial journalism, including our coverage of abortion rights, housing, and labor. 


But here's the thing: reader support is crucial our survival. We'll keep writing the articles you love (or love to hate) for as long as we can—but we need your help to keep our small, independent publication going.


If you make a new monthly donation today, NewsMatch will match it 24x! Will you help us continue to tell Madison's stories?

Maybe later

Help us give our local arts scene the attention it deserves.

Become a sustainer today and get your new monthly donation matched 24x.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top