The Internet Archive website contains (among other media) a museum-like collection of old music recordings, digitized from vinyl and shellac. The users of the platform archived their own vinyl collection to share it with the community, preserving all the crackling charm and analog warmth. Best of all, you can not only stream this large library for free, but also download every single title and even complete albums in high-quality 24-bit FLAC format, complete with cover artwork.
Internet Archive: Digitized analogue recordings
The music titles in the Internet Archive are mostly from the years 1900 – 1960, including recordings by musicians and singers Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Duke Ellington, The Andrews Sisters, Louis Armstrong, Enrico Caruso, Count Bassie, Frank Sinatra, Edith Piaf, and many more. All songs were digitally captured from vinyl (at 33 or 45 RPM) or shellac (78 RPM) discs without post-processing. That means vinyl crackling and an authentic feeling. Very nice!
You won’t easily find most of the recordings in material form these days – you’ll have to spend a fortune in the vinyl market. But you can listen to these rarities for free on this platform and even download them in high quality. Just browsing through without knowing what you’re looking for might be tricky with a library this large, though. For a better overview, you can sort and narrow down your wishes on the website, or simply use the search.
What about copyright?
This library is definitely not only interesting for lovers of old vinyl recordings, but also for all sampling enthusiasts looking for instruments and sounds from this era. How this platform handles the data in terms of copyright and licensing law (mostly songs are only protected for a certain period of time) is not entirely clear. But archives like this, made available to everyone for free, are a great thing.