The Library of Congress has teamed up with Sony Music Entertainment and University of California, Santa Barbara to create the largest public collection of historical recordings online.
The National Jukebox is a new website that provides free streaming of thousands of songs, political speeches, poetry and other spoken word content from 1901-1925. The recordings come from Sony’s Victor Talking Machine Company, and the collection is searchable through U.C. Santa Barbara’s Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Records.
Users can locate albums by title, artist, genre, place, date range and target audience. The collection also includes the original 1919 text to The Victrola Book of the Opera, an interactive edition that describes more than 110 operas.
Though Sony is the only contributor at the moment, the press release announcing the launch of the website mentioned their intention to augment the collection in the future. Gene DeAnna, the head of the Library’s Recorded Sound Section, says:
“This represents a strong step in the Library’s efforts to return out-of-circulation recordings to public access. Sony Music’s commitment to making its recordings more accessible is unprecedented. We will seek additional donors and contributors in an effort to develop the most comprehensive website of historic sound recordings and related interpretive content.”