Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The National Jukebox

Art is for consumption, and everyone, regardless of their class or status, should be able to consume as much art as they can and want. When I hear about something like The National Jukebox, it makes me think there are others out there with the same perspective.

The National Jukebox is an archive of over 10,000 sound recordings – recorded 1901-1925 for the Victor Talking Machine Company.

All of the content is currently owned by Sony, and they have granted streaming access to the Library of Congress for free.

Just upon an initial browsing, I came across some really interesting things. There are presidential speeches, such as “The farmer and the business man” by Theodore Roosevelt, recorded September 22, 1912:

Opera, spoken word, and early pop music, like Irving Berlin. Even as an avid music listener, the music collection is daunting, but the Library of Congress has already done a wonderful job bridging that gap by creating suggested playlists – by genre, or by subject/theme, such as the Early Tin Pan Alley playlist.

Granted, the sound quality is not what most are used to, but when you’re looking that far into the past, everything gets a little fuzzy. But behind all that dust, scratches, cracks and pops, the good stuff is there.

To me, there’s nothing more important than having access to art and historical documents. Thanks to the efforts of the Library of Congress, and the generosity of Sony, we have another wonderful addition to the public collection.

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