Innovative music lending library founder used ‘every class’ at Sac State to realize his vision

Buddy Hale ’17 (entrepreneurship) started small – just 25 instruments in a tiny apartment in Sacramento – but his idea was big: to create a lending library where anyone could borrow musical instruments or gear for as long as he would need it.

Hale has channeled his lifelong love for music and his desire to make music accessible to everyone into The Landria Music Library. Considered the largest music lending library in the country, it has more than 2,000 items to loan and a community space for lessons, performances or recording.

It wouldn’t have happened without Sacramento State, Hale said.

Drums were Buddy Hale’s first instrument, an interest he developed as a “little me banging on my desk”. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

“The timing was perfect,” he said. “I came to Sac State and thought, ‘How can I really make good use of my time here? What can I do so that when I graduate I have something solid? » ”

Hale’s childhood was difficult. When he was only 8 months old, his mother left him with his father, who was in his sixties and had Alzheimer’s disease. Hale entered the foster care system, eventually became an emancipated youth, and struggled with isolation.

Unsure of his place in the world, music helped him find it.

“One of my earliest memories is knocking on my desk at age 2 or something,” Hale said. “Just this tiny little me typing on my desk thinking I’m creating the most epic drum solo ever.”

The drums were his entry point into music. By age 8, Hale was writing her own songs. He eventually learned to play other instruments and to record, and he connected with other musicians.

“I slowly realized that making music or making songs or writing songs and recording, learning to record, learning to play an instrument, was kind of the way I could express all of this gnarly bullshit that I had to deal with growing up,” Hale mentioned. “Music has become like my therapy.”

He wondered, however, what might have happened if he had had access not just to the equipment, but to the music community earlier. It was there that he came up with the idea for The Library of MusicLandria, which takes its name from the ancient Library of Alexandria and was eventually launched as a non-profit in 2014. Hale is director executive and chairman of the board.

Around the same time, wanting to exercise another part of his brain, Hale enrolled in Sacramento State’s undergraduate commerce program with a pretty clear goal.

“Day one, I was like, I’m starting a nonprofit. I’m going to use every class, every assignment, to build the foundation of this nonprofit for the business,” he said. declared.

He followed through on his promise of “every mission”. Develop a business plan? He made one for MusicLandria. Missions related to marketing, human resources and financial reports were entrusted to the same objective. Hale received advice from mentors such as George Paganelis, who manages Sac State’s Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection and taught Hale what it takes to run a library.

Buddy Hale Store
MusicLandria has an inventory of over 2,000 instruments and related equipment that it lends free of charge. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

During his time on campus and after, MusicLandria grew exponentially, growing from the initial 25 instruments—Hale’s personal collection, which he donated with his “life savings” of about $60—to hundreds today. Much of the inventory is donated by people who, like Hale, want to make sure it’s put to good use.

“Musical instruments are super expensive, and that’s a big hurdle for people,” Hale said.

MusicLandria offers items such as guitars, ukuleles, drum kits, mixers, amps and microphones. Anyone within 50 miles of Sacramento can view up to seven articles for as long as they need. The library even has “permanent loans” with no expiration, which, for example, benefit teachers at local schools who need instruments for their students each year.

MusicLandria is more than a lending library, however. It’s also a practice space for people who need it and a place for all ages where local musicians can perform. It has also recently become home to Sacramento Dirty Radioan online radio with exclusively local artists.

After the loan program was successful, Hale realized he had to keep building, considering that a free instrument isn’t much use to someone who doesn’t know how to play it. So the library started offering educational programs and then provided a space for musicians to gather and perform. Next comes support for the professional development of musicians pursuing a professional career.

“It’s basically a musician’s hierarchy of needs, another thing I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t been to Sac State,” Hale said. “It was definitely part of the upbringing there.”

Likewise, music has a way of bringing the community together in a cascade, he said. A single musician can learn to play an instrument and then team up with others to form a band. This group can bring people together at a concert. Several groups can join forces to organize a festival, showcasing artistic diversity for an even wider audience.

This effect may be particularly important now, he added, as the region and the world emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone knows there’s potentially a lot of isolation right now, and music is a great way to bring people together,” Hale said. “I really think community is important and it’s important to reduce isolation, to bring people together to build communities, to share and learn from each other.”

Buddy Hale developed a vision for expanding access to music, coupled it with a wise plan, and had the impact he was looking for. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

About Jonathan Morales

Jonathan Morales joined Sac State’s communications team in 2017 as a writer and editor. He previously worked at San Francisco State University and as a reporter and editor. He enjoys local beer, Bay Area sports teams and spending time outdoors with his family and dog.