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Information for Artists

Playback: Local music collection

explore the music


Welcome to PlayBack, the Library's local music collection. We want this music collection to reflect the diversity and abundance of the Seattle music scene.

Our collection criteria are designed to be broad and inclusive:

  • The PlayBack collection will be limited to albums produced in the last 5 years.
  • A maximum of one album per musical act will be accepted for each selection period. If a musician is in more than one musical act, each musical act can submit to be part of the collection.
  • An album should be a minimum of 10 minutes long (albums typically include four songs or more).
  • The PlayBack collection will include music from Seattle musicians recording and performing in the Seattle area. We'll ask for your zip code and a statement on your relationship to the music scene in Seattle city limits.
  • The minimum audio quality accepted will be 256kbps.
  • If your submission includes song covers, the original song must be available in the public domain or used under a creative commons license; or the musician must have obtained the legal right, in writing, to reproduce and perform the cover.


From the submissions that have met this criteria, the jurists will select and share music that reflects the rich variety of genres represented in Seattle's music scene.

About the Jury

The Seattle Public Library is committed to highlighting local voices and collaborating with community partners to develop our programs and collections. We are working with local music community leaders to curate PlayBack and create a soundtrack reflecting Seattle's current music scene. The jury will help us meet our goal of creating a diverse and inclusive collection that highlights Seattle's active music scene and provides exposure to new artists.

Each jurist will help curate the PlayBack collection and help promote PlayBack in their affiliate organizations and professional networks. Jurists may rotate with each submission period. We are thrilled to have the following music community members participating in this review and submission period:

  • Tim Lennon - Executive Director, Vera Project; City of Seattle Music Commissioner
  • Jonathan Zwickel - Senior Editor at City Arts
  • Liz Riley Tollefson - Founder and Contributor, Three Imaginary Girls
  • Sharlese Metcalf - Producer and host of KEXP's local music show Audioasis


Also on the jury are members of The Seattle Public Library's staff who share a passion for and background in music:

  • Abby Bass - Adult Librarian in Arts, Recreation, and Literature, The Seattle Public Library
  • Kathleen Morley - Selection Services Librarian for adult music, The Seattle Public Library
  • Cameron McCracken - Library Associate II, The Seattle Public Library, Music Enthusiast 

The jury will change from time to time to provide opportunities to collaborate with many different individuals and organizations. Our shared goal is to collaborate with the music community in order to raise the visibility of lesser known artists, provide access to great music and celebrate our robust local music culture.

Submitting Your Music

Our third submission period is now closed. There will be two (2) submission periods per year. Each submission period will be open for two (2) weeks. Watch for announcements about submission periods from the Library or partner organizations. Be sure to follow the Library on Twitter and Facebook for the most current news.

Submissions will be accepted online. Each artist will submit a representative song from their album, upon which the jurists will base their decision.

Up to 50 albums will be selected to add to the collection in each submission period.

Selected artists will sign a license agreement and receive an honorarium of $200 for sharing their music through PlayBack. Artists may choose between a 5-year license term or a lifetime license term.

If you or your group are represented by a record label, your record label should be able to confirm whether you can submit to PlayBack.

If your album is not accepted, you are welcome to submit again during the next submission period.

Technical Information

We will accept the following preferred file types: FLAC, WAV and AIFF.

We will also accept MP3, AAC and Ogg Vorbis, but they experience more quality loss when transcoded for playback and may not sound as good.

Having trouble selecting FLAC, AAC and Ogg files in Safari? Try dragging and dropping the files or use Chrome or Firefox instead.