Friday, May 13, 2011

Public/private partnership brings music treasures to a PC near you

From Voice of America (VOA) comes news about a great public/private partnership:
Grammy-winning performer Harry Connick, Jr., was on hand recently to help the Library of Congress launch a website that offers 10,000 rare and historic sound recordings to the public in digital format for the first time - at no charge.

The massive collection includes popular music, opera and early jazz as well as poetry and famous political speeches. Al Jolson, Arturo Toscanini, Enrico Caruso and George Gershwin are just some of the musical giants featured in the collection.

The site, called National Jukebox, is a collaborative project between the Library of Congress and Sony Music Entertainment. It offers online access to a vast selection of music and spoken-word recordings produced in the U.S. between 1901 and 1925.

James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, characterizes the collection as a “vast treasure trove of recordings produced in the U.S. prior to the end of 1925.”

"It includes early jazz, famous speeches, poetry, humor, opera, dance music with authoritative production information for each recording," says Billington.

The Library of Congress holds the largest collection of historic sound recordings in the United States. They're stored and digitally preserved at a special facility in the state of Virginia. The Jukebox recordings come from that facility.

Richard Story, president of the Commercial Music Group of Sony Music Entertainment, says the remarkable collection traces the roots and development of American music and includes the work of “some of the most influential, most important artists ever."

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