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WFMU’s Free Music Archive Faces Imminent Closure

The Free Music archive, an extensive digital library of legal music downloads founded in 2009 and maintained by New Jersey’s WFMU radio station, expects to shut down on November 16, The Verge reports. Director Cheyenne Hohman cited lack of resources as the reason for the closure in a heartfelt goodbye post published on the website, and told The Verge that the archive’s National Endowment for the Arts grant for the next fiscal year was one-third the size of its previous NEA grants.

“This project has changed lives for the better; it has forged entire music careers from simple online posts; it has helped facilitate a new way of approaching music licensing and audio sharing in the digital age,” Hohman wrote. “Having been the captain of this rickety ship for years, I share some grief and anger about the huge loss this shuttering represents to musicians, filmmakers, educators, podcasters, radio DJs, video game designers, the Commons, and to the online community at large.”

The FMA is currently working to archive the entire website on the Wayback Machine and to incorporate the archive’s audio into Creative Commons’s own searchable library. But the stand-alone website, which featured charts and many curating partners, will shutter. Four organizations are negotiating to take over the project, The Verge reports, but the nature of those negotiations is unclear.

Listeners can still download songs from the website during its final days. Hohman has also encouraged fans to help archive the website by logging URL pages on the Wayback Machine and recording browsing sessions using the Webrecorder tool.