Rhinegold Publishing: Historic piano recordings database goes online. “Michael Spring, owner of historic piano recordings label APR, has launched a free, comprehensive online database of 78 rpm piano recordings, comprising more than 12,000 entries dating from the 1890s until the mid-1950s.”
New York Times: Wanted: A Home for Three Million Records. “Housed in a nondescript building in TriBeCa is the Archive of Contemporary Music, a nonprofit founded in 1985. It is one of the world’s largest collections of popular music, with more than three million recordings, as well as music books, vintage memorabilia and press kits. For point of comparison, the Library of Congress estimates that it also holds nearly three million sound recordings…. Rent in the neighborhood has continued to rise, challenging the organization to stay on budget, said Bob George, the founder and director of the archive. Recently, Mr. George reached an agreement with his landlord to get out of his lease early. He has until June to find another space.”
New York Times: Get Those Records, Tapes and CDs Onto Your Smartphone. “In addition to making files that play on your smartphone or media server, digitizing your analog audio creates an electronic archive you can store online for safekeeping. The steps for converting your old recordings vary on the formats and equipment you have, but here’s a general outline of the process and the equipment you may need.”
Internet Archive: How the Internet Archive is Digitizing LPs to Preserve Generations of Audio. “Since all of the information on an LP is printed, the digitization process must begin by cataloging data. High-resolution scans are taken of the cover art, the disc itself and any inserts or accompanying materials. The record label, year recorded, track list and other metadata are supplemented and cross-checked against various external databases.”
Internet Archive: Correct Metadata is Hard: a Lesson from the Great 78 Project. “We have been digitizing about 8,000 78rpm record sides each month and now have 122,000 of them done. These have been posted on the net and over a million people have explored them. We have been digitizing, typing the information on the label, and linking to other information like discographies, databases, reviews and the like. Volunteers, users, and internal QA checkers have pointing out typos, and we decided to go back over a couple of month’s metadata and found problems.”
The Internet Archive: Please Donate 78rpm Records to the Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project. “Good news: we have funding to preserve at least another 250,000 sides of 78rpm records, and we are looking for donations to digitize and physically preserve. We try to do a good job of digitizing and hosting the recordings and then thousands of people listen, learn, and enjoy these fabulous recordings.”
Lifehacker: How to Digitize Vinyl Records Without a Record Player. “Digitizing vinyl is a lot harder than ripping a CD. An external CD drive costs $26 on Amazon; a record player with a digital output costs $250 or more. Plus you have to use special software, specify the beginning and end of each track, write out all the metadata, and make sure the record plays smoothly. Or you can get someone else to do it for you. Here’s how.” And if you DO have a turntable and you want to rip a LOT of records, let me reup DJ Kippax’s crazy deep dive on album ripping.
DJ Kippax: How to bulk rip lots of vinyl (and not go crazy). “This record ripping guide is useful even if you’re not a DJ. The methods I outline will work for anyone who has the problem of digitising a large collection of filthy vinyls whilst trying maintain good sound quality.” A super deep dive from Mr. Kippax.
Internet Archive: Boston Public Library’s 78rpm Records Come to the Internet: Reformatting the Boston Public Library Sound Archives. “Following eighteen months of work, more than 50,000 78rpm record ‘sides’ from the Boston Public Library’s sound archives have now been digitized and made freely available online by the Internet Archive.” I listened to a Cab Calloway song from 1946 (“Hey Now, Hey Now” if you care) and while it did have pops and crackles I was surprised at how good the sound quality was.
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….
University of California: Digitizing Thomas Edison’s record label. “Henry Ford’s Old Time Dance Orchestra, Teddy Roosevelt’s 1912 campaign address and a how-to on sending and receiving Morse code. These are among the thousands of recordings Thomas A. Edison’s record label captured on its ‘Diamond Discs.’ A novel technology between 1912 and 1929, the discs were so named for the matching — and requisite — Edison phonograph record player fitted with a permanent conical diamond stylus…. For more than a century, however, these recordings have been held hostage by an obscure format, which has rendered them silent.”
Internet Archive: The ACCESS to Recordings Act is the Right Way to Fix Music Copyright. “Senator Wyden (D-OR) has introduced a common sense bill to fix a bad mistake made by Congress in the 1970s as an alternative to the bad bill Congress is currently considering. The Accessibility for Curators, Creators, Educators, Scholars, and Society (ACCESS) to Recordings Act would extend full federal copyright to sound recordings created before 1972–works that currently only have state law protection.”
Internet Archive: Mass downloading 78rpm record transfers. “To preserve or discover interesting 78rpm records you can download them to your own machine (rather than using our collection pages). You can download lots on to a mac/linux machine by using a command line utility.”
Kansas State Collegian: K-State Libraries donate thousands of records to digital archive. “Faculty in K-State special collections department knew of The Great 78 Project before getting involved, [Keli] Rylance said. During the 2016-2017 academic year, faculty combed through their collections and decided two would be good candidates for the project. Rylance then contacted the project’s developer at the Archive of Contemporary Music in New York to arrange a partnership. Since then, students have joined faculty in preparing the nearly 8,000 sides of audio for shipment to George Blood, an audio and visual digitisation company in Philadelphia.”
Internet Archive: 78s Bring the Past to Life. “For many of us, music is an integral part of our memories. It evokes a period of time in our lives, or inspires specific recollections. Music can also conjure times long past, outside of our personal memories. When we watch this movie, we see and hear Argentina in the early 20th Century. The music in this clip came from a 78 collected in Buenos Aires by Tina Argumedo, part of her personal collection of hundreds of discs.”