Freegal Announcement

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh first subscribed to freegal in 2012. In 2014, CLP expanded the subscription to provide access throughout Allegheny County. Throughout the course of our subscription, the user base for freegal has not continued to grow and in fact, this year the user base has declined.

CLP, with the full agreement of Downloadable and Streaming subcommittee of the county-wide Digital Resources Committee, has decided to not renew the freegal contract. This decision was based on an evaluation of the resource that considered many factors including usage and download statistics. The current contract expires on December 31, 2017. After this date, staff and patrons will no longer be able to access the freegal website.

The CLP and erec websites will be updated this week to inform patrons that this service will no longer be available starting in 2018. Libraries that host their own downloadable pages should modify the language on their page to alert their patrons that the subscription to freegal is ending at the end of December.

We have posted an updated eTips handout to reflect these changes.

We understand that some patrons who use this service may be disappointed.  However, we encourage staff members to direct patrons to Hoopla where there is a wide variety of music albums available at all times – no waiting!  Below are some talking points to share with patrons who have questions about freegal.

Talking Points:

  • While we are sorry to eliminate this resource for those people that were making use of it, the number of users was very small, making the service extremely costly.
  • We took into consideration other available services, both those available through the library (Hoopla!) and those freely available to the public.
  • Hoopla offers a great selection of complete albums, all available with no wait. The Hoopla music collection currently offers 293,866 albums including albums from popular music labels such as Verve, Atlantic Records and Def Jam Recordings.
  • We will continue exploring new ways to make music available to patrons.


A question was asked that if a patron has music only saved in the Freegal app, will they lose it. Here is the response from Freegal: 

iOS: (Apple devices)
If the user is still logged into the app after service has stopped they can continue to listen to music that’s still in the app. If they log out, or an app update forces them to log out then they will not be able to use the app to listen to their music as they won’t be able to log back in. The music will still be in the app as long as they don’t delete the app and they can transfer it.

The music is stored outside of the app and will not be deleted by removing the app. If you clear the data then the music will be lost.

In both cases it’s best for users to go ahead and backup their music in another location other than the Freegal app.