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    Access to the catalogue and customer accounts will be intermittent on Sunday, May 19, starting at 7 pm, until Monday, May 20 at 7 pm.

Cancellation of Freegal Music Subscription


Our subscription to Freegal Music will end on May 10, 2019. The decision to discontinue offering Freegal Music was made after careful review. The cancellation of Freegal Music is being made due to its high cost and the low number of users, as well as the continuing strong trend of free music streaming services available in the digital media landscape.


We appreciate your use of our eResources and apologize for any inconvenience the discontinuation of Freegal Music may cause.


We sincerely hope you will continue to use our other wonderful physical and e-music services, such as:

  • More than nineteen thousand music CDs are available for borrowing
  • Full albums that can be streamed using Hoopla
  • Millions of classical, jazz, blue and world music can be streamed using several different Naxos databases

Thank you for your understanding and support for our services as we strive to provide the best customer service, while maintaining an efficient budget for our eResources.

Please do not hesitate to share any concerns and suggestions regarding our eResources.

We are always happy to hear from you as we try to meet your needs.



Very sorry to see Freegal discontinued, but completely understand the need to allocate resources fairly.

I suppose that in this age of library cuts something had to go, but Freegal provided access to recordings not easily available otherwise. Among those are, for example, vintage Russian Melodiya and Czech Supraphon classical recordings, and collections of circa 60s recordings of Italian pop singers. On the other hand, most CDs in the collection are of recent recordings, while older ones are being withdrawn. I would suggest that the library focus on recordings that cannot be streamed: high-quality multi-channel super-audio CDs (SACD), which can also be played on ordinary players. SACDs, some of which are in the collection, but more would be welcome, should have a separate category (in the same way that large print are still books, but have a category of their own).

I have found music on Freegal that I could not easily find by other means... I really looked forward to my weekly visits to download these rare gems. I am sorry to see this go.

I guess I am one of those few users that enjoyed Freegal for many years. It provided recordings not available anywhere else. I was particularly interested in famous Arabic as well as English songs performed by artists other that the original artist. I will be able to still get those through iTunes. Fortunately for me, I can easily afford to do that.

Thanks for providing me with this resource for all that time.

Very disappointed. Ownership is important for anything but the top 100. It is too easy for a streaming service to delete a piece of music because there are better returns to be made with another, more alluring one. As one commenter noted, there is a depth in the catalogue - Melodiya, Supraphon on the large side; multiple smaller labels - that will be difficult to replace. I had more than 200 pieces lined up in my wishlist - all gone now... An advance warning would have been nice.

Let's hope the Southern Ontario Library Service will consider re-instating Freegal when change occurs at Queen's Park, as it inevitably does. In the meantime, perhaps time to roll back ambitions on a new central branch and keep more funds allocated to current resources.

To Queen's Park: Mothers Against Drunk Voting (MADV) advises: don't drink and vote - and brush up on you macro-economics!

I understand how expensive Freegal is and the controversy of library's letting customers own music, instead of merely borrow it as they would a book. But I very much agree with the above - a lot of the catalog is not available elsewhere in Ottawa or online. Extremely disappointed, especially as one user noted: "an advance warning would have been nice". Give us at least a few more weeks to complete a CD of downloads if we are in the middle of one, or to plan and prioritize our wish list (I also had mover 200 pieces lined up). Also wondering if this would have been a more popular service if anyone knew about it - wasn't publicized well at all. Nobody I know with a library card had heard of Freegal before I mentioned it.

I have enjoyed the music streaming without the unwarranted advertising that one gets on a lot of freely available streaming service.

I was very sad and disappointed to see that we are losing yet another Library resource. While I understand that the user numbers and cost no longer seem to be cost effective, we users were also limited in outside options for the music we found on Freegal, and further limited by the number of weekly downloads. I've also found that other Library users had never heard of it, so there was definitely a problem with advertising this service, or lack thereof. It would have been nice to have had some consultation or longer notice. Users always seem to be on the short end of the stick. Would it be possible to give us a few more days or just remove the limit for the remaining couple of days to try to make up for losing this resource? Please find a way to bring it back.

It's sad to see this go. I really liked having it up until now.

Tout à fait d'accord avec ce qui a déjà été dit. Service de qualité avec une musicothèque inégalée. Le peu d'utilisateurs a été noté comme facteur déterminant par la bibliothèque, mais à vrai dire le service était mal publicisé. De plus, à ses débuts le service streaming était limité, et l'interface difficile d'utilisation. Qui plus est, la bibliothèque avertissait qu'elle ne détenait qu'un nombre limité de downloads. Je me souviens que je me levais tôt les lundi matins pour ne pas risquer de perdre les miens. Avec une telle épée de Damoclès au dessus de ma tête, j'avais très peu de raison de vouloir faire les louanges du service à d'autres -- mis à part quelques amis proches. Une grosse perte, à mon avis!


Politicians are cutting funding for the arts and we are all the poorer for it, whether you are a user or not. What's next?

I'm sure the decision wasn't taken lightly, but I regret the loss of a service that allowed me to explore music that I would not normally have run across in the mainstream music services. Like others, I also regret not having time to transcribe the full wishlist of 150-200 items that I was queuing up to download. I rarely used the streaming part, except to sample an entire album before deciding to download some of it. Thanks for having this service for so many years. I do agree that it was poorly advertised, which probably led to the low user count. I will miss my weekly dive into Freegal and the unusual corners of the musical spectrum. On the plus side, I was pleased, in the last month, to download a few tracks by Bjorn Olsson featured as background to the Woodman from the series Hilda - another fun discovery.

I've been using it for years and if your reasoning was low usage - that is due to the library's lack of marketing and promotion. Not everyone can afford a paid subscription to access the music they want. The other music resources - the ones the library mentions are extremely limited. And the music in the other streaming services we do not own the music, therefore we are limited to the portability of if. A heads up would have been appreciated as others have mentioned and also reinvesting in Freegal again should be strongly considered.

Very sad to see Freegal go. It was a very good service. Like others, I had several items in queue that I wanted to download and was very disappointed to see the service gone (this was last night; had I've been just a day or two earlier, I would have gotten my downloads). There was not enough notice displayed on the website, and I was completely unaware this was happening. I hope in the future that this decision is overturned.

I guess I'm 2 days too late and judging by the date they gave enough time for people to use up their downloads. Had I known this sooner I would've done so but learning it now I'm surprised as anyone. I don't know of any other streaming services that allows users to download tracks for free without paying for subscription (and porting it into iPods and MP3 players), but in this case it's the library that's paying the subscription fee for us to listen offline. Comments here show how this resource whether to stream or to download music is well used, and I hope it comes back to us.

I used Freegal almost daily and am disappointed that the service is being cancelled. It would have been nice to get notice of the cancellation (when logging into the site). I would've liked access to my wishlist and playlists one more time.

I had no idea until it was over, as I was away from internet for a week. I also lost a huge wish list.
An extra few weeks notice wold sure have been nice. Maybe in time this will be re considered, one can only hope.

Aside from the fact that I had to search the website for the word "freegal" to find out it had been cancelled, and the other fact that users were "granted" less than two weeks to continue making use of the service, this feels like a decision that was made hastily and NOT well thought out. Could we not have received more notice, giving everyone a chance to note the albums and/or songs in their wish lists? For a city that prides itself on engagement and consultation, this struck like a bolt from the blue, and I'm less than happy about it.

That being said, finding a way to get the most out of Freegal, should the opportunity arise again in the future, should be a top priority of the library board.

So very disappointed in this decision to eliminate Freegal. I wonder what criteria was used to eliminate this downloading service that I so thoroughly enjoyed over the years. I, like many others who have expressed their dismay over this situation, are perplexed and upset that our voices were not given a chance to be heard before this choice was made. Please rethink this decision. Streaming is not the same as downloading. The enjoyment I found in finding rare music gems to listen to every week and playing them over and over again in my car, at my place of work and at my camper is now lost to me, and this member of the library is as I stated earlier disappointed in this budget cutting decision.

Very sorry that Freegal has been dropped, as it enabled access to a lot of music that is not available elsewhere or is available only at high cost. I hope OPL has learned a lesson from the low usage: If a resource is costing you a lot of money, you want people to use it. So you have to promote it actively. You can't just leave it there to be discovered. The OPL has powerful tools of promotion available to it: The website and the e-mailing list of subscribers. Why not select a useful feature and promote it for a week, giving it a prominent place on the home page? Especially in these times of shrinking budgets, the Library needs to act as a commercial enterprise and sell! You have a wonderful product that's free to the user -- what an opportunity!

I am sad to see this go. I used it every week to download music and to listen to music. I looked forward to my 5 free downloads every week.