Citizen DJ: a new tool for the creatively inclined from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has a new open-source project called the Citizen DJ project. Developed by Innovator-in-Residence Brian Foo, this project provides a simple interface for exploring the Library’s extensive audio collections, as well as a platform for combining these samples with hip-hop beats. Creators can also download “sample packs” containing an array of sound clips that can be uploaded into their music production programs of choice. 

The audio clips, drawn from over a century of live music, theatrical performances, speeches, interviews, and ambient sound recordings, have no copyright restrictions. So creators can freely use these clips to create songs for personal or commercial purposes.

“My goal is to develop a simple way to discover and use public domain audio and video material for music making so that generations of artists and producers can use it to maximize their creativity, invent new sounds, and connect listeners to materials, cultures and sonic history that might otherwise go unremembered,” Foo shared in a press release. “That’s what Citizen DJ is all about—an easy to use tool that unlocks the amazing treasures in the Library of Congress for music makers and their audiences.”

The project will fully launch this summer, but the Library of Congress is encouraging members of the public to try out a demo version and share user feedback through May 15. Give it a try!

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