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Library of Congress drops a nickel in the National Jukebox

A new online resource for streaming thousands of vintage audio recordings for free has been launched by the Library of Congress.

Called, cleverly, the National Jukebox, the website gives unprecedented access to seminal American recordings that previously were the near exclusive purview of collectors and scholars.

According to promotional materials, the "Jukebox includes recordings from the extraordinary collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and other contributing libraries and archives. Recordings in the Jukebox were issued on record labels now owned by Sony Music Entertainment, which has granted the Library of Congress a gratis license to stream acoustical recordings. At launch, the Jukebox includes more than 10,000 recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925. Jukebox content will be increased regularly, with additional Victor recordings and acoustically recorded titles made by other Sony-owned U.S. labels, including Columbia, OKeh, and others."

Since there's no downloading allowed, this means the Jukebox is strictly for desktop listening. But we're not complaining! This move is a huge leap over having to travel hundreds (or even thousands) of miles in order to listen to obscure vintage recordings in a lonely study carrel.

Taking all of this in from the viewpoint of circa 2011, all the National Jukebox needs now (to achieve maximum relevance) is a Smartphone app.

(Posted by Feliks Banel)

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Western States Museum of Broadcasting 2021