The changing face of academic music media collections in response to the rise of online music delivery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The evolution of online media delivery methods and the ubiquity of mobile devices has led to a shift in user preferences away from physical formats to freely accessible streaming content via sites like YouTube and Spotify and downloads from sites like iTunes. This progression has also resulted in content that libraries are precluded from owning due to prohibitive end-user license agreements. As a result, academic libraries must reexamine the role and objectives of their media collections as well as barriers to their use. This article presents the findings of a survey of North American music media selectors and provides a baseline context for the current and changing state of their collections and collecting habits. It finds that librarians are still actively collecting physical formats even though collection use is shrinking. In addition, they feel local pressures related to budgets, space, and preservation. Librarians have reservations about the costs and stability of commercial streaming products and what that means for creating unique collections. Respondents articulated numerous questions that the library profession should be asking itself and library patrons about the future of academic music media collections. Several possible approaches to these issues are put forth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-223
Number of pages33
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music
  • Library and Information Sciences


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