Where to get the rarest digital vinyl

Thousands of recordings – many on 78rpm discs – that had been consigned to memory in the revisionism of the digital age have gained a new life, thanks to the tireless efforts of one man.

As the digital music movement started in earnest, Cliff Bolling began digitizing his records, and posted a list of the first 1,500 songs he had digitized so other collectors could take a look, later on he decided to upload MP3s of every song on the list so that he could access them from anywhere, and others could find them.

It’s a great report from Wired Listening Post, but digitising rare 78rpm vinyl – and even the wax cylinder releases which preceded them – is nothing new, though well worth talking about. If listening to the music your parent’s parents heard means something to you, here’s a few more starting points, including at least two higher education institutions.

Music has its own history. if you are interested in that history, then you may want to explore some of the sites now appearing on the ‘net which make digitised versions of 78rpm and cylinder recordings available to download. They are able to do this because copyright law only protects recorded music for 50 years after it’s put down. This means that tracks from as recently as the early ’50’s could in theory be made available. This area of music discovery is only recently starting to emerge. Four sites to check include:

The Open Music Archive, www.openmusicarchive.org
A collaborative project to source, digitise, and distribute out of copyright music recordings.

Tinfoil, www.tinfoil.com
This site preserve and makes available early recorded sounds. it continuously digitises wax cylinder recordings

Stanford University, www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/ars
Stanford University hosts a growing collection of digitised music and radio sounds, offering a fascinating glimpse into the last century.

University of California, https://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/
The UCSB Libraries host a digital collection of over 6,000 cylinder recordings which are available for download, many of these are comedy and vaudeville routines.

Hope your ears enjoy these

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