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Absolute gold: dive into a digitised library of vintage 78rpm recordings

Expand your listening with digitised 78rpm recordings from the first half of the 20th-century. The collection stands at 286,954 and counting.

The not-for-profit organisation Internet Archive has unleashed a huge number of digitised 78rpm recordings from the early 20th century, featuring many household names such as Elvis Presley‘s Jailhouse Rock, a fantastic selection of Duke Ellington‘s work, even the America Symphony Orchestra playing Wagner’s immeasurable Ride of the Valkyries.

Titled ‘The Great 78 Project’, it is a community effort to preserve, restore and propagate old recordings made on 78rpm shellac records. Prior to the modern material polyvinyl chloride, 78rpm records were made out of shellac which is a resin made out of beetles, shellac was not as strong and was surpassed for vinyl’s longevity and strength.

jailhouse rock

Users are able to contribute to the effort and share their collections, stream and download for free! All contributions have been added by audiophiles and enthusiasts who have done the transfers themselves, which means you can hear that snap, crackle, and pop, that however only adds to the vintage feel.

Bedroom producers and beatmakers who are thinking of trawling through this goldmine for their next sample, please note the Internet Archive says “It is the user’s responsibility to determine whether permission may be required for a given use of these materials, or whether such use is authorized by law.”

The full collection can be found here

Happy hunting!