Posts

The ARChive of Contemporary Music: Collecting Gone Mad


New York has turned into a “Museum City,” says Bob George, founder of the Archive of Contemporary Music. George knows of what he speaks, both from the perspective of being a long-standing occupant of downtown, from back when it was so cheap to live in Manhattan that artistic ideas could (and did) propagate freely, but also from the perspective of his ARC, which is itself something of a museum, given that its holdings have grown to over two million sound recordings. (And I thought I had a large record collection!) On a recent visit to New York City, I stopped in for a long-overdue meet with George at the ARC on White Street, in what just about passes for Tribeca. The ARC occupies several large rooms taken up mostly by multiple shelves, upon shelves, upon shelves, of vinyl, of every single genre, right down to ventriloquist instruction (something of an oxymoron, when you think about it). A giant scanner serves to help digitize music books and magazines (though not for redistribution), while interns pore over computers, helping catalogue new arrivals and respond to enquiries. The first dozen releases on Sun fill one wall; autographed rarities look down over George’s own desk; the latest acquisition to the blues collection, funded by Keith Richards, occasionally make it up onto the wall as well; tchotchkes and souvenirs and odd little recording ventures are dotted all around – because for all that archiving contemporary music is a serious mission, George and his staff at ARC ensure that it also serves as fun. And in case this all sounds just a little too western for your tastes, know that ARC has begun a ‘World Music Day,’ centered around a specific nation or creed; in 2011 it was Muslim Music, and this year, the ARC will celebrate Brazilian World Music Day. The push towards that particular focus began late last year, and continues afoot as ARC collects and catalogues Brazilian music with an eye to launching a major website on September 7 for a global audience.

Bob George and some of his many many shelves of records at the ARChive of Contemporary Music, as cribbed from their blog on Brazilian World Music Day.

George and I talked about possibly digitizing the entire catalogue of Jamming! magazines; it would be a way to ensure their preservation, if nothing else. That conversation extended to one about music books and the realization that ARC has several thousand of them in a basement. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be much around the subject of music that ARC is not willing to invest in and catalogue. ARC is hardly the only ambitious music library, even within the confines of New York City; I make frequent use of the recordings and files and magazines at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at the Lincoln Center. But there’s something about having real obsessive music fans run an archive and research center like this that makes it more exciting. ARC doesn’t operate an open door policy, but even if you don’t have a reason for ringing their door bell, just knowing that they exist to keep the record collection you could only dream of, surely makes you feel that little bit more secure.

A proud acquisition for the Keith Richards Blues Collection, one of only 10-15 copies from Robert Johnson’s second and final recording session known to be in existence.

Related Posts

Discussion

417 Comment(s)

  1. 22 May, 2022 at 11:53 am

    Great beat ! I wish to apprentice at the same time as you amend your web site, how
    can i subscribe for a blog site? The account aided me
    a appropriate deal. I have been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided brilliant clear idea

  2. 22 May, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    Every weekend i used to visit this web page, for
    the reason that i wish for enjoyment, since this this web
    site conations really nice funny data too.

  3. 22 May, 2022 at 12:25 pm

    Hi there! I understand this is somewhat off-topic however
    I had to ask. Does building a well-established blog
    such as yours require a lot of work? I am brand new to writing a blog but I do write in my diary on a
    daily basis. I’d like to start a blog so I will be able
    to share my own experience and thoughts online. Please let
    me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for new aspiring bloggers.
    Appreciate it!

  4. 22 May, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    Nice replies in return of this difficulty with real arguments and describing all on the topic of that.

  5. 22 May, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    Hello, all is going well here and ofcourse
    every one is sharing facts, that’s truly excellent, keep up writing.

  6. 22 May, 2022 at 1:46 pm

    Wow, this piece of writing is fastidious, my younger sister is
    analyzing these kinds of things, therefore I am going to inform her.

  7. 22 May, 2022 at 2:49 pm

    I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of
    your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for.
    Do you offer guest writers to write content for yourself? I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on most of
    the subjects you write concerning here. Again, awesome site!

  8. 22 May, 2022 at 3:22 pm

    Wow, this article is pleasant, my younger sister is analyzing these
    kinds of things, therefore I am going to inform her.

  9. 22 May, 2022 at 4:03 pm

    Touche. Great arguments. Keep up the good
    effort.

  10. 22 May, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    That is really attention-grabbing, You’re a very skilled
    blogger. I have joined your rss feed and stay up for in search of extra of your wonderful post.

    Additionally, I’ve shared your website in my social networks

  11. 22 May, 2022 at 4:46 pm

    Hi there to every , since I am really eager of reading this weblog’s post to be updated regularly.
    It consists of good material.

  12. 22 May, 2022 at 5:05 pm

    Usually I don’t read post on blogs, but I wish to say that
    this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do it!
    Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice post.

  13. 22 May, 2022 at 5:18 pm

    Hi there, its pleasant piece of writing concerning media print, we
    all be familiar with media is a wonderful source of facts.

  14. 22 May, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    Howdy! I simply would like to offer you a big thumbs up for your excellent information you have got right
    here on this post. I am coming back to your website for more soon.

  15. 22 May, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog shine.
    Please let me know where you got your theme. Thank
    you

  16. 22 May, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say
    wonderful blog!

  17. 22 May, 2022 at 6:07 pm

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and
    wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your
    blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very
    soon!

Leave a Reply

Archives

Calendar of posts

May 2022
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031