Branding the Music Library in the mud of the Roskilde Festival

This summer 20 music librarians from all over Denmark asked the question: “How did we suddenly find ourselves in the middle of one of the biggest rock festivals of Europe, trying to recruit new patrons of the digital music library on a rainy, muddy July summers morning at 4 o’clock?”

The explanation is that the two biggest national music library services in Denmark, (musiclibrary. dk) and (net music of the libraries) last year decided that we would set a new agenda for the marketing and branding of the digital music library.

On-the-Spot Music Library

The idea was to meet the music audience wherever possible and relevant. The service that we specifically wanted to expose was the service; from this site all Danish patrons can borrow music tracks from all genres. The music tracks are delivered online and they are available for seven days. The repertoire represents the most well known international labels, the major part of the Danish record companies and to some degree the independent companies. Today the number of tracks available is about 950,000. Besides we create a national website,, with articles, recommendations, biographies, music curiosities, discographies and a Music Magazine (named MusicMag).

In order to let all the ‘good stuff ’ find their users and patrons, we suggested that we should:

• Create access from the single record of the OPAC to the online tracks of

• Make links from all possible virtual festival programmes (e.g. Roskilde Festival, Tønder Festival, Copenhagen Jazz Festival), concert hall programmes and lists of recommendations to the net music, so that whenever a user wants to check out a music programme he or she would immediately – thanks to the library service – get the possibility to listen to what’s on right now

• Literally ‘get out in the field’ and bring the music library environment to the music audience at major festivals and events. The two first dots demand development and testing new ways of using the OPAC, creating web services and RSSfeeds. Examples of the results are available at the OPAC e.g. of the State and University Library, musikbibliotek. dk and examples of linking to the work from a concert programme are available at The third dot demands that the music librarians leave the offices and the libraries, and the challenge was to some extent to build a listening lounge / library environment in a few days.

Getting into YourSpace

The idea was that we wanted to reach the typical music patron and / or music consumer where he or she would typically go to hear concerts or investigate new or well-known music.

One of the very good spots for meeting thousands of dedicated music lovers is the Roskilde Festival. The challenge was to meet the music audience in ‘the right way’. Anyone can hand out some flyers and posters about the library, but in our experience it’s no use.

At the Roskilde Festival there’s an area called YourSpace dedicated to relaxing, chilling out, eating, talking etc. between the concerts. From 2007 the board and the project manager of the music library site ( are cooperating with the Roskilde Festival about the setup of this area.

To become an integrated and natural inhabitant of YourSpace we made a chill-out area beside the coffee lounge and beside the areas of the Musicians Union and the music magazine Sound- Venue. The interior of the chill-out area of the music library contained computers, headphones, chill-out furniture, music literature and music magazines.

Realizing that there might be either lots of mud or dust we designed a special table with a built-in monitor – so that the user could chill out, study the music sites and drink coffee or beer at the same time.

Beside the possibility to investigate the music sites, the online music tracks of the performers and bands playing at Roskilde, the guest at Roskilde could learn how to load tracks from the legal sites to their mobile music player (e.g. Zen Creative). The Musiclibrary site ( made a site for uploading pictures from the festival. The music library chill-out area was open 24 hours a day from the first Sunday where the audience arrived and until the following Sunday when the Festival closed.

There were professional music librarians helping, demonstrating and guiding the users all through the week – 24 hours a day.

Report from the Festival

The Roskilde Festival in the summer 2007 was the rainiest ever since the first festival took place in 1971. On the fifth day of the festival it rained and rained all night and all day, with the result that everything got covered with 30 cm of mud. Lots of people went to YourSpace to find a dry spot, at the same time learning about the facilities of the modern music library. Apart from finding a dry place in the rain the guests of Roskilde got the possibility to be a part of all the activities going on ‘around’ the concerts, some of them experiencing new facets of music information. Others taking active part in the production of websites about the Festival – loading their pictures etc.

The music librarians learned a lot about the audience/the users – about guiding and helping in heavy weather conditions, and they got lots of interesting new partners and valuable networks with the representatives of the music industry. The fact that the music library area was full of people, some of them staying for hours, made it worth the hard work.


The overall impression of the music library chill-out / listening lounge was that the audience really liked it, people found out that a modern library is useful in so many ways – and we have only just started to bring the new music library services on the stage.

The virtual and digital music services provided by the libraries is a unique possibility to bring the music to the right audience – and a unique possibility to facilitate the active co-production of music recommendations – not only from reporters and librarians to the users. But to a very great extent also from user to user.

At the Roskilde Festival the music librarians learned that with the right services at the right time they have the opportunity to play a serious role in the event- and experience economy, where the activities ‘around’ the actual concerts are considered at least as important as the concert.


The first public music library in Denmark opened in 1965 in Lyngby

From 2000 the Danish library act, the Act Regarding Library Services, demanded that the objective of the public libraries is to promote information, education and cultural activity by making available, among other materials, recorded music and electronic information resources, including Internet and multimedia. ( The Music Library site was launched in 2000

netmusic ( In Denmark the site (Bibliotekernes Netmusik) was launched in 2004.

Links,, www.odensesymfoni.

Charlotte C. Pedersen
Master of Library and
Information Science
Head of Odense Music Library /
Odense Central Library

ckp AT

Master of Library and Information Science Head of Odense Music Library / Odense Central Library