11.05.2011, Words by dummymag

Amazing online archive of vintage recordings opens

Wanna listen to vintage music and speech recordings that date back to 1900? The Library of Congress has some great news.

The Library of Congress presents the National Jukebox – a new collaborative project of several organisations, including Sony Music Team and EMI group, and even individual record collectors – offers free streaming of previously-unavailable vintage recordings that date back to more than 100 years go.

The Jukebox is making a large amount of historical recordings available from the collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and other contributing libraries and archives. More than 3 million recordings of spoken-word and music will be made accessible online to the general public. As they say on the website, “Imagine your computer as a new gramophone purchased for family and friends to enjoy in your home parlor. Audition popular recorded selections of the beginning of the 20th century years—band music, novelty tunes, humorous monologues, hits from the season’s new musical theater productions, the latest dance rhythms, and opera arias.”

Some of the new streamable 10,000 titles on the National Jukebox website have been unavailable for more than 100 years due to complex laws controlling ownership of sound recordings, which did not become subject to federal copyright laws until 1972.

Vintage performances that worth checking out include: Enrico_Caruso and Fritz Kreisler, speeches of President Teddy Roosevelt, Broadway legend Al Jolson , the first blues recording Livery Stable Blues (made in 1917 by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band), piano performances by jazz-ragtime pioneer Eubie Blake, whistling virtuoso Charles Kellogg , composer and band leader John Philip Sousa, and thousands of other artists.

New recordings are added to the Jukebox every month. Next month will see the beginning of digitising recordings from additional record labels such as Columbia and Okeh, along with other selected master recordings. Keep your eyes peeled.

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