Music to my ears.
May 10, 2011 12:31 PM   Subscribe

New from the Library of Congress, National Jukebox, where you can listen to 10,000 rare historic sound recordings. (Streaming only, requires flash and javascript.)
posted by fings (22 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
This is cool and all, but I think it goes to show how absurd our copyright laws are that there is nothing here past 1929. (thanks mickey mouse!)
posted by empath at 12:37 PM on May 10, 2011

Teddy Roosevelt didn't sound anything like what I thought he'd sound like. Kind of mincy, actually.
posted by Curious Artificer at 12:43 PM on May 10, 2011

Please post neat discoveries/recommendations here.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:48 PM on May 10, 2011

I eagerly await the trip-hop club remix of The 'Abyssinian treatment' administered to Standard Oil.

That shit's gonna be TIIIIIGHT
posted by tittergrrl at 12:51 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

The wealth of entertainment options available to me in this world never ceases to astound.
posted by JanetLand at 12:52 PM on May 10, 2011

Thank you librarians of congress for creating this, but you may owe my employer a few bucks for the time I will waste today browsing and listening and sharing with my staff.
posted by Ranindaripley at 1:11 PM on May 10, 2011

Your tax dollars at work!
posted by monospace at 1:13 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Fascinating. Haydn Quartet - Massa's in the cold, cold ground

And always a favorite, used in Toy Soldiers (XBLA): Goodbye Dolly Gray
posted by yeti at 1:29 PM on May 10, 2011

I think the reason there is nothing past 1929 is that was when the Victor Talking Machine Company was sold off to RCA. Right now, the only recordings up there are from Victor, for which they have a free streaming license from Sony. The site says they plan on adding more acoustic recordings from other Sony-USA owned labels, including Columbia and OKeh.

Personally, I agree that that state of copyright laws is absurd, but I'd like to avoid turning this post into a post about that.

As far as discoveries, Billy Murray has some interesting songs, including The Grand Old Rag (before the lyric was changed to "Grand Old Flag"), and I'm the guy a song with lyrics by Rube Goldberg!
posted by fings at 1:38 PM on May 10, 2011

Your tax dollars at work!

and I couldn't be happier! Good work tax dollars, you deserve a raise!
posted by Think_Long at 2:04 PM on May 10, 2011 [7 favorites]

Bit miz that it doesn't seem to think my Chrome/Ubuntu/Flash combo counts as something that can haz flash and Javascript, and refuses to play. Anyone else in this silent boat?
posted by Devonian at 2:48 PM on May 10, 2011

cool, thanks for posting
posted by angrycat at 3:28 PM on May 10, 2011

I don't understand why we can't download. For example, if you go to this song, and select the "Rights & Access" tab, it says:
Rights & Access

This recording is protected by state copyright laws in the United States. The Library of Congress has obtained a license from rights holders to offer it as streamed audio only. Downloading is not permitted. The authorization of rights holders of the recording is required in order to obtain a copy of the recording. Contact for more information.


Source of original recording: Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara. Inclusion of the recording in the National Jukebox, courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment.
But the song was recorded in 1914! It can't be under copyright, can it?
posted by Flunkie at 4:49 PM on May 10, 2011

The Hurdy Gurdy Blues is great for the title alone.
posted by kenko at 5:01 PM on May 10, 2011

When I woke up this morning, I was definitely not expecting to learn that copyright law is even crazier than I had thought.
posted by Flunkie at 6:03 PM on May 10, 2011

Well the copyright on these is murky at best. They're being presented free of charge on a government website of which I'm a part owner.

Recorded easily enough using Audacity. What gems are people finding?
posted by Locobot at 7:14 PM on May 10, 2011

Locobot, what do you mean that the copyright on these is murky at best? The LOC is directly stating that they're protected by copyright. What is murky about it?

Do you mean "They're being given to me for free, and I am capable of copying them"? If so, neither of those things have anything to do with copyright.
posted by Flunkie at 7:53 PM on May 10, 2011

Just noticed the LoC blog entry about the project, with a little more info.
posted by fings at 8:31 PM on May 10, 2011

Teddy Roosevelt didn't sound anything like what I thought he'd sound like. Kind of mincy, actually.

I guess he meant that whole, "Speak softly and carry a big stick" thing.
posted by mreleganza at 2:18 AM on May 11, 2011

Locobot, what do you mean that the copyright on these is murky at best?

"no sound recording can reliably be considered in the public domain in the United States" Also means that songs which should normally be considered public domain can reliably be considered copyrighted. Sony may own these records, but do they have clear ownership rights to the compositions and performances? Do they own the rights to distribute these recordings for free? Did they get permission from each performer's estate?
posted by Locobot at 5:47 PM on May 11, 2011

On a side note, the chorus of J. Bodewalt Lampe's Creole Belles, here performed by the Sousa Band, is the source of Mississippi John Hurt's My Creole Belle.
posted by y2karl at 10:46 PM on May 11, 2011

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