The Great 78 Project is a new project by the Internet Archive to preserve 78 rpm records that has released about 26000 records as of today.
The project will publish a new digitized 78 rpm record every 10 minutes, and announces new publications on the project's official Twitter account. According to the project's homepage, project members have access to more than 200000 records.
78 rpm records were published between about 1898 to the 1950s. The most popular and commercially successful recordings have been rereleased as LPs or CDs, but many have not.
While the commercially viable recordings will have been restored or remastered onto LP’s or CD, there is still research value in the artifacts and usage evidence in the often rare 78rpm discs and recordings. Already, over 20 collections have been selected by the Internet Archive for physical and digital preservation and access.
The digitized copies of the original 78 rpm records preserve imperfections and the surface noise of the recordings. The recordings were released mostly on Shellac, a fragile predecessor to the LP.
The main entry point of the 78 rpm records archive is found here. It lists the available records, and provides searching and filtering options. Filters provide you with options to limit the results in multiple ways. You may filter by year, collection, creator, or language for instance.
The dominant language of the recordings is English, but you find a couple of hundred recordings in languages such as Polish, Spanish, Italian or German as well there.
Creators refer to the artists that created the recording. You get a big list of names when you open the full artists listing. Popular artists include Bing Crosby, Guy Lombardo, Gene Autry, Jim Dorsey, Paul Whiteman, or Glenn Miller.
A click on a recording opens it on the Internet Archive website. You can play it right on the page thanks to the embedded music player that you find attached to the top of the page.
This page lists information about the recording -- publisher, author, digitization, catalog number and user reviews -- and download options. Provided are several formats including FLAC, OGG and MP3. There is no option to download the entire collection of records though at this point in time.
The new collection is interesting to fans and researchers alike. Fans may download rare recordings of artists they like to listen to.
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