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ARSCLIST  May 2006

ARSCLIST May 2006

Subject:

Re: National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) Study

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 15 May 2006 18:36:47 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (110 lines)

There's definitely a few-off CD cottage industry. In fact, I hate to keep coming back to Joe 
Bussard, but ... he seems to operate with no law trouble selling cassettes of collected semi-obscure 
groupings of 78's (that are definitely covered under the supposedly draconian US copyright laws) on 
cassettes, from a very public website, and he's certainly not press-shy. So, I think if you did good 
marketing (ie a website, generate some mainstream media articles, etc),  you'll make a go at it. And 
the attention might lead to some lucrative consulting jobs, although I am pretty sure most or all of 
the mega-glomerate record companies have archivists or decent archival records as to what they own 
that they think is of any commercial value. The bottom line problem is that so much of that material 
just has no value to the vast majority of people, so there are no dollars or interest chasing it. 
But, to show how marketing and media attention can matter, a relative of Bussard told me he sells 
more cassettes than you'd ever think, especially since each cassette is essentially a hand-made 
product.

Listen, I sympathize. I'm a jazz fan. I spend most of time listening to a dead music form, and my 
favorite recordings are made in a way that's just not economically feasible anymore. So I feel the 
pain, but time marches on and the smart man gets out of the way lest he be marched over.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "steven c" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2006 6:20 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) Study


> see end...
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
>> Probably because a lot of your 78s are very obscure or of no commercial
> value and/or little academic
>> value? Or because the ones of commercial value have already been re-issued
> in a new format with good
>> transfers made from metal parts? Have you approached any record companies
> with offers to share from
>> your collection, with the interest being to get the disks of interest
> transferred and preserved (and
>> maybe even make a little money)? Have you sought any grant money? Have you
> offered to donate the
>> collection to a library or national archive in exchange for seed money to
> start transferring it? Do
>> you publish and speak widely? I don't know of very many people for whom
> the world beats a path to
>> their door over an obscure thing like a giant pile of 78's (there are
> exceptions but note that those
>> guys have a ton of rare/non-available-elsewhere content vs a large pile of
> stuff that's elsewhere -- 
>> and those guys tend to be pretty good self-promoters, with no negative
> connotation on my part
>> because I think it's very good business sense). No offense, but marketing
> attracts attention and
>> otherwise, talk is cheap.
>>
>> Also, just because something was once recorded and once released
> commercially doesn't mean it has
>> any lasting value (or is likely of any interest to all but a handful of
> collectors or fans of the
>> obscure). I can think of piles of useless no-hit wonder garbage singles
> that used to be tossed into
>> large boxes at the college radio station, free for the picking but never
> picked over and the boxes
>> were tossed in the dumpster when they started to overflow. Last time I
> went back to visit, in the
>> mid-90's, it had evolved into a box of no-hit wonder CD's. Then there's
> the lesson of "antiques
>> roadshow" -- just cause something's old doesn't mean it has a cent of
> value. Sorry to be harsh but
>> reality is reality.
>>
> Okeh...
>
> First off, I wasn't suggesting my shellac archive was of inestimable
> value...rather, I was suggesting my half-vast knowledge of the history
> of the record industry (I've authored "The (Almost) Complete 78rpm
> Record dating Guide" which is a standard reference work in the
> field) combined with my database skills might be!
>
> I'm fully aware that my shellac hoard isn't going to make me rich
> in my old age (hey, I'm already there!). I have specifically avoided
> buying rare (and expensive!) records...not a Robert Johnson original
> to my name, or the second known copy of that famous Oliver Gennett.
> It was collected primarily with discography in mind (especially
> Grey Gull discography). As such, it would only be of interest
> should Jon Noring's "Project Gramophone" become reality. In fact,
> until I can scratch together the necessary coin of the realm to
> acquire a new N8-3D (or equivalent) needle, I can't even listen
> to the dommed things!
>
> What I am thinking of doing (which has to be accomplished before
> the Canadian government rewrites our copyright law to match the
> eternal term mandated south of our border...?!) is to assemble
> sets of discs I own and hand-burn CD-R's of their content...which
> is, so far, entirely legal up here (copyright on a sound recording
> runs out at the end of the calendar year fifty years following
> its first "publication, so anything recorded on or before
> 12/31/1955 is now in the public domain!), so I can possibly
> sell, say twenty copies of "Original Hits of 1913" (et al).
> If it costs me $0.50 to burn them, and I can get $10 each,
> I've just made $190...which is about 18% of what Ontario
> grudgingly recompenses me as an officially-designated
> cripple!
>
> I'm just saying that should there be, somewhere in our
> space-time continuum, an institution with a vast (or even
> half-vast) holding of 78rpm discs, and no idea of how to
> catalog same (as the original message in this thread implied)
> I could be of recompensable value thereto...
>
> Steven C. Barr 

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