UCLA: Ethnomusicology Archive publishes 58 historical field collections online. “Five years of planning and development across international waters have culminated in the online publication of 58 historical field collections held by the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. The project, Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings, was a collaboration between the World Music Center at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, home of the archive, and Adam Matthew Digital, an academic publisher based in the United Kingdom.”
Radio Prague: National Museum searching for early Czech sound recordings in US. “Few people in the Czech Republic know that a significant chapter in the history of early Czech sound recordings was written by Czech immigrants in the United States. For several years now, Filip Šír from the National Museum in Prague has been searching for the lost recordings and the stories of the people behind them. Last year, he published his findings in a book called Bohemia on Records, written together with music collector Gabriel Goessel. But he says there is still much more waiting to be discovered.”
Washington Post: Alexa has been eavesdropping on you this whole time. “For as much as we fret about snooping apps on our computers and phones, our homes are where the rubber really hits the road for privacy. It’s easy to rationalize away concerns by thinking a single smart speaker or appliance couldn’t know enough to matter. But across the increasingly connected home, there’s a brazen data grab going on, and there are few regulations, watchdogs or common-sense practices to keep it in check. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of Facebook in our smart homes. Any personal data that’s collected can and will be used against us. An obvious place to begin: Alexa, stop recording us.”
Dani Gal has created quite a collection of spoken-word political vinyl records at https://historical-records.com/ . From the about page: “Historical Records is an ongoing project of collectin commercially released vinyl records that document political events of the twentieth century. The collection contains over 700 LP’s of speeches and interviews of those who were in power and others who objected this power, of wars and peace agreements, human rights struggles and other radio broadcasts, of the events that shaped history from the invention of the phonograph to the fall of the Berlin wall.” Worst timesink I’e seen in a loooong time….
Techdirt: Compromise Music Modernization Act Will Bring Old Sound Recordings into The Public Domain, Tiptoe Towards Orphan Works Solution. “Over in the House, the CLASSICS Act was unfortunately merged with a separate bill, the Music Modernization Act (which is mostly uncontroversial) and voted through unanimously. However, it hit a stumbling block in the Senate — leading to negotiations to create a compromise between Wyden’s ACCESS Act and the original CLASSICS Act. That compromise has now been released and… it’s actually fairly decent. To be clear, this is not how anyone would draw up copyright law from scratch, and there are still bits and pieces that concern me in the bill. But compared to where we were with the CLASSICS Act, this is a pretty big improvement.”
Library of Congress: A Summer of Mid-1940s Melodies: Processing Master Recordings from the Decca Label. “In 2011, Universal Music Group (UMG) donated more than 200,000 master recordings to the Library of Congress’ Recorded Sound Section, which maintains approximately 3.6 million sound recordings at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia. Within the collection’s 5,000 linear feet of material are historic recordings by artists such as Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, the Andrews Sisters, Billie Holiday, Guy Lombardo and Les Paul. Many of these tracks were recorded onto thousands of 16-inch lacquer discs. Those created during the mid-1940s on UMG’s subsidiary label Decca serve as the focus of my project this summer. My goal for the 10 weeks that I am in Culpeper is to process as many of the discs as possible, which may seem like monotonous work, but has proven to be quite the opposite.”
A tip o’ the nib to Penny C., who tipped me to this great announcement from Boston Public Library: Boston Public Library Transfers Sound Archives Collection to Internet Archive for Digitization, Preservation, and Public Access. “Boston Public Library has approved the transfer of significant holdings from its Sound Archives Collection to the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library offering permanent access to historical collections for researchers, historians, and the general public. This project will catalog and digitize a major component of the BPL’s Sound Archives Collection, which will be available where rights allow to all for free online upon the project’s completion. The BPL Sound Archives Collection contains the Library’s collection of non-circulating commercial sound recordings in a variety of historical formats, including 78 rpms and LPs. The collection includes American popular music of many genres, including classical, pop, rock, jazz, and opera from the early 1900s on the 78 rpms and through the 1980s on the LPs. The collection has remained in its current state for several decades, in storage, uncataloged and inaccessible to the public.”