Download or listen to more than 48,000 78rpm record “sides” from the Boston Public Library’s sound archive that have been digitized and made freely available by the Internet Archive.
The Boston Public Library collection has music that was recorded on 78 rpm records from the early 1900s as well as music through the 1980s recorded on LPs. Many previously unheard recordings are now available for free to stream or download. The collection includes classical, pop, rock, jazz, hillbilly music, early brass bands, and opera. The recordings include well known artists, artists who sold many records but faded from view, and more obscure artists.
More than 750 record different labels are represented in the collection and include early American jazz and blues recordings.
The collection from the Boston Library is part of the larger 78 Project, which is dedicated to the preservation, research and discovery of 78rpm records. Many recordings are linked to discographies and reviews, with more than 250 recordings matched to sheet music
The Internet Archive has more than 5 million audio recordings, beginning with some of the very first recordings ever made on Edison’s wax cylinders. You may find a few recordings by other artists in later years (for example, the Grateful Dead has many recordings from the 1960s through 1990s). The sound quality varies from quite scratchy to surprisingly good.
(h/t Internet Archive Blog)
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