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Archive of Contemporary Music: 50.000 digitized vinyls for download

The New York Archive of Contemporary Music (ARC) has reached digitalization of 50.000 78-speed discs, which you can listen to and download for free.

Archive

The Archive of Contemporary Music started to maintain audiovisual material from 1985, and a little over a year ago, he worked with the Internet Archive to complete the Great 78 project and distribute it to the public.

Together with the George Blood LP and various volunteers, Great 78 has so far gone online 50.000 digitized 78 RPM trays and recordings of rolls, which you can listen to in the Internet Archive with all their parasites, as if you had a 78 turntable.

In ongoing projects, the Internet Archive actually has over 200.000 physical recordings that have been donated to it, most of them from the 1950 and earlier. These first recordings were made by shellac, and it's not the resin that made the discs today. Shellac is a fragile material that has been overcome around 1960 as it often creates unusual levels of noise and can literally break into your hands if it does not handle it properly. Without digitization, it is likely that some of these recordings will eventually be destroyed and lost in history forever.

The focus of Internet Archive is to digitize files that are less widely available and ignored. The collection offers a wide range of early blues, bluegrass, yodeling, and several Novachord synthesizer recordings from 1941.

Digitizing these old music tracks is a complicated process. Different types of stylus can affect how it sounds when playing a track, and playback speeds were not standardized until around the end of the 20s, which means there is talk of the "right speed" at which a disc should play . Workers on this project also need to make aesthetic decisions, such as the positioning of the microphone and what frequencies the disc is able to reproduce (which is poor compared to modern sound reproductions). The goal is not to remaster a file or remove all existing playback objects from variables such as how many times it was played or how it was originally recorded, but to keep the record as a "historical artifact".

In the Internet Archive's Great 78 database, you can search by the author, who has digitized the disc, the year of the original recording, and more. When you listen to a recording, there are often alternatives or multiple versions of the same song that have been recorded with different styles. They are all available to leave comments and download them.

You can help and contribute to the Great 78 project, as you are always looking for volunteers to help improve metadata, collector contacts, 78s donations, and more. Or you can just see one of their collections and enjoy a piece of musical history.

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