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The Free Music Archive is closing this month

The Free Music Archive was founded in 2009, the year Barack Obama was inaugurated as this country’s first black president. As a project directed by the legendary Jersey City radio station WFMU, it was to be a “library of high-quality, legal audio downloads,” a place where artists could share their music and listeners could enjoy it for free. Now, following a funding shortage, the FMA plans to close sometime this month.

“The future is uncertain, has been my mantra lately,” says Cheyenne Hohman, who’s been the director of the Free Music Archive since 2014. The shutdown date was initially the 9th, but has since been pushed back to November 16th because the FMA is in early talks with four different organizations that are interested in taking the project over. “The site may stay up a little bit longer to ensure, at the very least, that our collections are backed up on and the Wayback Machine.”

Even so, it’s not a perfect solution. “If it just goes into, it’s going to be there in perpetuity, but it’s not going to be changing at all,” Hohman says. “It’s not going to be the same thing, that sort of community and project that it was for … almost 10 years.”

The project got its start after WFMU won a grant from the state of New York. The plan was to create a resource that was aimed at people — “webcasters, podcasters, broadcasters, video artists, students,” per Hohman — who were interested in Creative Commons licensing. Those licenses are looser than traditional copyright, and give artists more flexibility in sharing their work and allowing others to use it. As Hohman points out, traditional copyright is far from perfect for the online world; the content uploaded to FMA, on the

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