In theory your idea is very correct, but there are so many hack people and hack methods out there
for digitizing 78's. The archive will need to do a lot of research, have someone on-hand or hire
someone with really good ears, and talk to a lot of people before moving forward. I am so
un-impressed by most commercial reissues of 78s. Hack playbacks, hack over-use of digital "tools,"
non-understanding of stylus size and EQ ramifications, reliance on crappy-sounding and incorrect
digital playback curves, etc. So just saying "digitize it and store copies of the drives off-site"
is only the macro-macro view of a properly executed project. If they don't have the financial
resources and someone with a lot of technical knowledge and very good ears involved, it'll end up
with an inferior-sounding pile of digital files, and there will possibly develop an attitude of
"well, we've digitized it so we don't need to safeguard these old heavy bulky shellac records
anymore." I'm not at all saying don't do it, I'm saying do it right.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Joel Bresler" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2015 10:23 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Disasters at Commercial Archives
> Hi, Peter, for some reason I did not get your original message.
> My intent in compiling the list is to share it with the Board of Directors
> of a European archive with an extensive holding of commercial 78-rpm
> recordings, much of it unique. I am attempting to convince them that it is
> well and good that they have preserved their collection through two world
> wars and a tumultuous century, but until the contents are digitized and
> copies stored off-site, their collection is still very much at risk.
> I have enough information for now -- it's quite a "parade of horribles" as
> it stands, so no need to share private information. I would be interested in
> details on the public cases you mention below.
> Here is the list as it stands, from the last 50 years or so. Some of this
> information comes from public sources and some from private emails.
> . A flood in a Jugoton (Yugoslavia) pressing plant destroyed metal 78
> masters spanning from 1926 to 1959,
> . In 1961 an explosion followed by a fire ripped through 20th Century
> Fox's New Jersey vault,
> . The National Film Board of Canada suffered a vault fire in 1967;
> o More than half of the films produced in Canada between 1890
> and 1950 were lost
> . Also in 1967, a major fire erupted in Vault #7 at
> Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's film studio in Culver City, California,
> . A fire at MGM's Hollywood, California warehouse in 1972 devastated
> unreleased musical materials,
> . In 1978 a fire in a storage facility in Long Branch, N.J. destroyed
> virtually all of Atlantic Record's unreleased masters and other materials
> from 1948-1969,
> . In the 1980s, multiple floods hit the PolyGram tape vaults in White
> Plains, New York,
> . A fire in 1993 at the Henderson Film Lab in London destroyed Ealing
> Studios comedies and other materials,
> . In 2008, a fire on the Universal backlot in Los Angeles burned
> thousands of videos and reels;
> o Among the lost materials were masters from the Universal
> Music Group, US Decca, MCA, Command, Impulse, Kapp and Chess.
> . In 2010 a flood in Nashville damaged tape and photo archive
> materials at the Grand Ole Opry.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of John Haley
> Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2015 3:41 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Disasters at Commercial Archives
> It is good to keep in mind that at least some of the warehouse fires in
> question had to have been "insurance fires." For a company in financial
> distress, with a warehouse full of old material just sitting around,
> generating no income and costing for upkeep, a nice insurance fire to
> generate some fast cash could look fairly attractive, helping the old bottom
> line. Its hard to prove the arson if carefully carried out, and
> with nitrate film, well who would even bother to investigate. As an old
> insurance lawyer in a prior life, I remain suspicious.
> John Haley
> On Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 2:13 PM, Peter Brothers <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Before replying with specific details, might I ask what the intent is
>> in collecting the list of disasters? We are a tape restoration and
>> re-mastering laboratory that is very well known for our disaster
>> recovery services. As such, we have a significant list of recent
>> (since 1983) disasters but are hesitant to release some of the
>> information without an indication of what the data will be used for.
>> Major archive disasters such as ABC(flood), MTV (fire and flood at
>> different locations at different times), SONY (flood at different
>> locations at different times), ZOMBA (flood), the CBC (flood), The Grand
> Ole Opry (flood), Prague (flood), etc.
>> are not a problem but there have been a large number of disasters at
>> smaller archives or at facilities holding archival materials that are
>> a little more "confidential".
>> While we do hear about fires, we probably get 20 flood inquiries per
>> every fire inquiry. While some fires leave tapes contaminated with
>> soot and debris that can be decontaminated, too often fire destroys the
>> It is a lot easier to restore tapes that have been under water than
>> tapes that have burned up into little lumps of "charcoal".
>> Peter Brothers
>> SPECS BROS., LLC
>> [log in to unmask]
>> Tape restoration, disaster recovery and re-mastering since 1983
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Joel Bresler
>> Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 7:51 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Disasters at Commercial Archives
>> Dear Friends:
>> I would like to assemble a short list of disasters (and
>> near-disasters) that have befallen multimedia archives. Any help
>> building a short list would be much appreciated. To get us started:
>> MGM and Atlantic labels lost holdings in a fire In 1996 a movie lot
>> fire almost demolished the MCA audio archive RCA bulldozed a warehouse
>> in Camden, NJ in the 1960s, with master recordings and other materials
>> still inside
>> (These examples from: "Arts, Inc.: How Greed and Neglect Have
>> Destroyed Our Cultural Rights" by Bill Ivey
>> Destruction of Odeon masters at the end of WWII.
>> Thanks in advance,
>> Joel Bresler
>> 250 E. Emerson Road
>> Lexington, MA 02420
>> United States
>> 1-781-862-4104 (Telephone & FAX)
>> [log in to unmask]
>> IN CASE OF VERIZON EMAIL PROBLEMS, PLEASE USE MY BACK-UP EMAIL: