Noteworthy article on preserving audio heritage


SHould the government be spending money to preserve the things that apparently nobody cares enough otherwise to preserve?

I would tend to say no. Let the open market determine what is worth preserving. I do not want my taxpayer dollars going to preserve every last thing that someone else deems worthy (probably mainly because some special interest group greased their palms to get them to make that determination).

Whatever. I'm sure I won't see the savings back in the form of lower taxes that I can then spend to buy some more recordings anyway.

And so it goes.....
unfortunately the concept of music as culture, or music as art with importance and value, dies a little every day. I'm not sure what the answers are, but we may be the last generation to give a hoot. 'the only thing certain is change'.
Let the open market determine what is worth preserving.

The market does not preserve. This is why we have museums. Also, heritage and history.
"The market does not preserve."

I understand what your saying. True historical sites of significance require preservation to prevent destruction. Also original artifacts.

However, recordings are marketable items readily available for reasonable cost to all, if there is interest. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Ellington, Elvis, The Beatles, even original roots blues artists are readily available and retain followings based on value. IS government action really needed in the case of recordings? Its more debatable for me at the least.
Jeez, your government is helping you and your descendants to maintain access to recordings--for practically nothing--and you complain about wasteful spending? It really, really worries you?!

Please, complain (or celebrate, if you liked it) about the trillions of dollars that were spent destroying Iraq and Afghanistan if you want to see where your tax dollars went in the last decade. This amount spent on a music archive is both harmless and utterly, utterly minuscule by comparison.

Now, moving on to a quote from the article,

"Only an estimated 14 percent of pre-1965 commercially released recordings are currently available from rights-holders. Of music released in the United States in the 1930s, only about 10 percent of it can now be readily accessed by the public."

The public; that's who this is for. To get that other 90% out there for whomever wants to listen to it. Leaving it to the "market" is a religious statement, blessed by the church of capitalism but it sure as heck is not an artist's perspective.

Look at how well the "market" served Mozart and Schubert, for starters. Or Van Gogh. Or... really, do I need to go on?

If you want to complain about runaway government spending, there is about a trillion dollars going to military spending each year. By comparison, to complain about a piddling amount to make old recordings accessible to future generations is in pretty tone-deaf bad taste.
Well said Trebejo!
Hear, hear Trebejo!
At the bottom of it all is the question of public funding for museums and libraries. I think that if one accepts the concept, the work in question becomes a matter of degrees. That is, is it too much, or too little. In my own opinion, it is critical work. Music from our past that is still available did not spring forth from a vacuum. In order for historians, musicologists, and the rest of us to understand the history of the music, and better understand the times in which the music was made, such projects are terribly important. That other 84 - 90% can tell us quite a bit-- even if there is no clamor for it on i-Tunes just at the moment.

Now, if one is serious about examining government practices in regards to this project, a better question might be: why is the Library of Congress taking this on, when the Smithsonian has a long-standing program of collecting and re-releasing back catalogs? I would think that some coordination is in order here.

Consider Folkways for instance.
THank you Trebejo....
"It really, really worries you?!"

No it really doesn't worry me at all.

Just expressing an opinion since someone brought it up.

I just do not approve of government spending policies in general and also wonder who determines what is culturally significant and what isn't in a case like this.
I think the Gov. should have a museum for Devo and devolution should be taught in all classrooms.Maybe a monument in all major cities paid for by taxes. Why not!

We can take money from the rich,(or not so rich)to fund our monuments to Devo.
And if anyone complains about our Devo monuments we can always bring up the wars.
...wonder who determines what is culturally significant and what isn't in a case like this.

Curators, librarians, archivists, musicologists. And none of them ever get it right all the time for all the people. But it's what they do. And despite how it might seem to many, it's not random or particularly individualistic. They follow the rules and guidelines and principles of their disciplines.