Gothamist: Photos: Inside The Last Days Of The ARChive Of Contemporary Music In Tribeca. “How many albums can you think of that feature a space helmet on the cover? There’s Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere, Moby’s 18, Parliament’s Mothership Connection, and Tom Petty’s Highway Companion. There are soundtracks for movies like Moonraker, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Day The Earth Stood Still. What about that Star Wars disco album? Does Daft Punk count? There are at least 360 of them according to archivist Bob George, and he should know: he is the founder and director of The ARChive Of Contemporary Music (ARC), a nonprofit archive, music library and research center that has become home to one of the world’s largest collections of popular music in all its physical forms.”
This is from last year, but I missed it, and it’s too good not to share. Syncopated Times: San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation’s West Coast Revival Collection Digitized. “Realizing that they had amassed a huge collection of important artifacts of the jazz revival, and hoping to ensure their preservation, The San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation (SFTJF) transferred 750 linear feet of materials to Stanford’s music library in 2009. Fundraising to digitize the SFTJF’s most historically significant recordings, photographs and documents began in 2014, and digitization was begun in 2016. The process of organizing and digitizing them is finally complete and we are delighted to share with you the result of their efforts.”
Buffalo State College: Zine Scene: Buffalo State Music Publications Preserved in New Digital Archive. “Long before music websites, blogs, and social media accounts provided a means of instant communication, fanzines—or zines—were one of the few ways for aspiring rock writers to get published. In the early to mid-1970s, Buffalo State College provided a supportive environment for students who embraced a do-it-yourself ethic to detail the burgeoning new music—punk, glam, and new wave—that was largely ignored by the mainstream press. With funding from United Students Government, two influential zines—the Shakin’ Street Gazette (SSG) and Foxtrot—were published and distributed throughout the city.”
Columbia News: Community Scholar’s Mixtape Museum Is an Ode to Hip-Hop. “Fifteen years ago, Regan Sommer McCoy looked around at the collection of mixtapes, album cover art and music industry paraphernalia overflowing her boyfriend’s Bronx apartment and thought, ‘This place could be a museum.’ Now, as McCoy finishes her third year as a Columbia Community Scholar, her Mixtape Museum is a reality and she is preparing to join the advisory board of the Universal Hip Hop Museum as a historian when it opens in the Bronx in 2023.”
NewScientist: Humans across cultures may share the same universal musical grammar. “While music seems to be everywhere, scientists haven’t previously found much evidence to suggest it has any universal features. The prevailing view is that music is so diverse that few, if any, universals exist. Settling the matter empirically has been difficult, because research often focuses on individual cultures and musical contexts, says Samuel Mehr of Harvard University. So Mehr and his colleagues decided to use data science to try to understand what was universal and what varied in music across the world. To do this, they developed a database containing around 5000 detailed descriptions of songs and their performances in 60 human societies.”
MEL Magazine: An Oral History of LimeWire: The Little App That Changed the Music Industry Forever. “In 2001, the internet’s premier file-sharing service Napster was shut down after just two years, leaving a giant vacuum in the ever-expanding peer-to-peer file-sharing space. There was, however, no putting the toothpaste back into the tube. Suddenly, it was possible — and extremely popular — to download media for free. It was only a matter of time before the next platform emerged to meet that demand.”
Pitchfork: Red Bull Music Academy, Which Shuts Down This Week, Shares Archive With Over 500 Lectures. “The archive contains over 500 RBMA lectures, as well as interviews, features, videos, and more. RBMA, which launched back in 1998, has hosted SOPHIE, Flying Lotus, Nina Kraviz, Objekt, and so many more.” Some other names I saw as I scrolled through the list: Bootsy Collins, Brian Eno, Chuck D, Debbie Harry, Harry Belafonte, Iggy Pop, Laurie Anderson, Sheila E.
Berkeley Library News: Rock ‘n’ roll, clowns, and Roberta Flack: An inside look at a massive new collection of music photography at The Bancroft Library. “Looking through the photographs is like flipping through stacks of vinyl at Amoeba Music, a satisfying exercise in nostalgia. Scanning through the folders, you’ll see Judy Collins, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young, and so many in between… The photographs, 60,000 in all, make up the Howard Brainen photo archive. A recent gift to Bancroft, the archive is a time machine into a moment in music history, offering a glimpse into the local scene and the larger-than-life figures who came through the Bay Area.” It’s worth reading the article just to see the pictures included with it.
Monday Magazine: A passing of the torch for Victoria’s rock music history archives. “His basso profundo voice resonating through the cafe, Glenn Parfitt digs through the memory banks for a nugget about his days managing Victoria nightclubs.”
Punk News: Massive East Bay Punk digital archive released. “Stefano Morello has curated and launched a massive digital archive of east Bay Punk materials. The site includes many zines from the time period and a few other materials.” East Bay in this case is apparently the San Francisco Bay area. Sounds like punk there is quite a thing.
Washingtonian: How Can We Preserve Go-Go’s History?. “This spring, noise complaints forced a Shaw retailer to turn off the go-go recordings that had played in front of his store for more than two decades. The outcry was fast and intense, and in the wake of protests and a #DontMuteDC hashtag started by a Howard student, the music was eventually allowed to return. One intriguing piece of news that came from the coverage: The store’s owner, Donald Campbell, wants to launch a digital streaming platform to share the thousands of hours of live go-go recordings he’s amassed over the years—probably the biggest such collection in existence.” When I saw “go-go,” all I could think of was the 60s and those white go-go boots that used to be popular. This ain’t that. Looking into it further, go-go reminded me of the early rap I grew up with, mixed in with funk and lots of drums. I liked it. If you want to explore, 8tracks has a bunch of playlists.
The New York Times Magazine: The Day the Music Burned. “It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business — and almost nobody knew. This is the story of the 2008 Universal fire.”
The Guardian: UK risks losing classic rock archives, warns ex-Oasis photographer. “The UK could lose large swathes of classic British rock photography to private collectors unless it preserves them in a dedicated museum, according to one of the country’s most celebrated music photographers.”
Fordham University: Rich Conaty’s Big Broadcast Lives on in New Digital Archive. “When Rich Conaty died in late 2016, the WFUV DJ left behind a devoted following of listeners, some of whom had been tuning in for more than 40 years to hear him spin jazz and pop from the 1920s and ’30s on his Sunday night show, The Big Broadcast. Luckily for fans, hundreds of episodes from The Big Broadcast’s archive are now available to stream on Fordham’s Digital Collections page, thanks to a generous donor and a collaborative effort between WFUV and the University Library.”