The music industry has undergone radical changes since the advent of digital publishing at the turn of the century. Virtually every piece of music published today is released as a digital file, with the previous format de jour, the CD, fading rapidly from view.

While this shift in format has posed a number of challenges to the established music industry, it has been a boon for emerging and underground musicians. As with all aspects of publishing on the internet, the ease and economics of the DIY approach has made it a very attractive option.

The flip side of this ‘virtual’ music is that it can disappear just as easily as it arrived. This is where the Alexander Turnbull Library comes in.

Through a combination of Legal Deposit and actively seeking out New Zealand music across the internet, we are rapidly accumulating a huge collection of great tunes, which we are preserving for posterity in our National Digital Heritage Archive.

Even better, an increasing number of artists are giving us permission to offer access to their music in our collection beyond the confines of the National Library building.

Here are some of my favourites that have recently arrived, and are available to listen to anywhere with an internet connection:

Listen to Little Notes

Little Notes / Tiny Ruins

Bristol-born, New Zealand-raised musician and songwriter Hollie Fullbrook has been performing her melancholy folk music as Tiny Ruins since 2009. Little Notes was her first recording, released at the end of 2010. Hollie can be found at

Listen | Collection record

Listen to Autumn

Autumn / The Golden Awesome

The Golden Awesome is a Wellington-based indie rock band, specialising in the lush wall-of-sound music known as shoegaze. Autumn is their debut album, published by the American label M’lady’s Records. (Disclaimer: shameless self-promotion involved - this band features the author of this blog post...) They're on Facebook.

Listen | Collection Record

Listen to Microcosmos

Microcosmos / Announce

Announce is the musical alias of NZ School of Music student and composer/sound artist Jason Post. Jason has been releasing Announce music since 2009, specialising in the kind of spectral soundscapes you can hear on Microcosmos. Check him out at

Listen | Collection record

Listen to Wreckers and haters

Wreckers and haters / Antony Milton

Wellington postie Antony Milton has been making records, exhibiting sound installations and performing since the early 1990s. He is also the curator of the PseudoArcana record label. Wreckers and haters was released in 2010. Antony's music is on Bandcamp.

Listen | Collection record

Tracking down open access music

Unfortunately there is not currently a way of identifying the music that is available off-site, however I will be posting regular blogs here highlighting some my favourite open access music that has come into our collection.

If you happen to be on-site at our building in Wellington, there is a wealth of digital music available to stream through this site.

By Matt Steindl

Matt is the Turnbull's Music Research Librarian.

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Paul Capewell April 2nd at 9:38PM

Very nice selection! I love Tiny Ruins, so I will check out the rest too. The descriptions sound good. This is a cool initiative, I look forward to more.

Is there any need for the media player to be Flash-based? I wonder if it might be better to implement an HTML5-based player instead. That being said, it's clear that the 'viewer' widget is better suited to displaying images, so maybe a different tool altogether might come along in future. It's certainly an ok compromise for displaying both artwork and music files side by side for now.

Reuben SchraderNational Library April 3rd at 9:12AM

Hey Paul, I know Matt's got a lot of stuff he wants to share, so watch out for that.

On the techy side... our development work is concentrating on the beta site for the moment. We are always thinking about what's going to happen down the road though, and comments like yours help us work that out, so keep them coming!

Paul Capewell April 3rd at 10:16AM

Thanks for the comments Reuben - I must say the Beta site is really exciting. I'm loving using it, and the one at Digital NZ (I believe they are linked, or using the same engine or whatnot). Every time I go to do something, I find a new feature I like that I hadn't discovered before. Very pleasant process indeed.

Jacob Powell April 3rd at 4:29PM

I agree, very cool feature, and excellent taster selection :-) One tech thing, I noticed that everything plays fine in both Chrome (v17...) and IE9 but that Firefox (v11) loads the player but can't load the content to play. Something to get someone to look at in terms of compatibility. Again, great idea and keep em' coming! :-)

Reuben SchraderNational Library April 3rd at 4:34PM

Thanks Jacob, we know it's an issue in some browsers, but it's good to have specifics. The curse of being in beta I suppose.

Glad to have you reading!

Phillippa April 4th at 12:58PM

So we want off-site access for our students.
In the meantime cmay I link this to the IAML facebook page to share with others?

Reuben SchraderNational Library April 4th at 1:19PM

Hi Phillippa, please go right ahead. :)

Andrew Henry April 4th at 3:03PM

Matt - nice work. This will be a great way for me to discover new NZ music!
Jacob - I'm using Firefox 11 and if you click on each file the content does play :-)