Partnership of Library of Congress and Universal Music Group Will Put Newly Digitized Music Online

Financial realities and overlapping interests have led to an agreement that will create a set of new set of digitized music online.  The Universal Music Group agreed to give the Library of Congress approximately 200,000 recordings created between 1926 and 1948 that have been sitting in underground storage.  The Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress will spend the next five years preserving and digitizing these recordings.  Once the work is complete, members of the public will be able to access the collection in person.  LOC also plans to stream some recordings on its web site.  Universal will maintain the copyrights as well as the  right to distribute the music.  Executive vice president for digital logistics and business services at Universal, Vinnie Freda, explained the agreement:

"The thinking behind this is that we have a very complementary relationship.  I've been trying to figure out a way to economically preserve these masters in a digital format, and the library is interested in making historically important material available.  So they will preserve the physical masters for us and make them available to academics and anyone who goes to the library, and Universal retains the right to commercially exploit the masters."

Universal also recently gave some 1,000 radio broadcasts from the 1930s and 1940s to the National Jazz Museum under a similar agreement.  Read the full article from the New York Times here.