The problem with long-term anything is that back in the 60s people like
Motown were making virtual performances via the mail.  That is to say, they
would lay down a track by a drummer somewhere in New York, put it with a
track from somebody in Hollywood, and master those with back up music by
Detroit Symphony musicians in Detroit.  Those takes were put forth as a
single performance.  I don't know what their index looked like, or if they
even had one.  They did record some things on 35mm film as well as VHS
tapes, because of all the tracks they were putting together.  But if the
index of who is who on the single track takes doesn't exist, what kind of
preservation will be available to document what went on? Who was where,
when, and how many of those single track takes were put with how many other
commercial recordings.

Paul T. Jackson - Trescott Research
Information Resources and Library Development
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-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Aaron Luis Levinson
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 3:11 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Long-term/preservation audio

I can say from a commercial music business perspective that almost
every rock band
in the world has their album mastered to analog 1/2 or 1 inch tape.
Virtually all the existing Ampex ATR-100 series machines are being
restored and sold to high-end mastering and recording studios around
the world. I think it is quite likely that the "analog niche" in pro
recording will not disappear in the foreseeable future and that this
cottage industry would easily sustain a small business that was
dedicated to producing a small batch high quality product. The
mastering lathe will survive for the same reason and I for one am
thrilled that this is so. People have been predicting the demise of
analog for nearly twenty years and the fact it is still being predicted
seems to make the proponents of digital seem incrementally less
oracular with each passing year.

On Tuesday, July 1, 2003, at 11:00 AM, Mike Richter wrote:

> At 10:03 AM 7/1/2003 -0400, James L Wolf wrote:
>>    One thing I also said that I'm not as sure about now. I said
>> something like analog preservation will no longer be possible in the
>> near future. I based this on the steady attrition of suppliers of
>> magnetic tape, assuming that demand would dry up to the point that
>> tape
>> would no longer be available at all. Does anyone disagree with this? I
>> suppose that tape could be made to order by someone (?), but it would
>> have to be much more expensive than it is now.
> The classic method of making magnetic tape is suitable only for a
> substantial market. I do not know the dimensions, but the sheet of base
> material which is created, coated and slit is many reels wide. Unless
> there
> is a different process available, the cost of the needed facility
> would be
> prohibitive without steady volume. (I recall having seen a video of the
> slitting operation; the sheet of "tape" was of the order of a meter
> wide.)
> The salvation of open-reel tape may prove to be the cassette. In the
> beginning, cassette tape required only that the sheet be slit in
> eighth-inch widths instead of quarter-inch. I don't know whether the
> method
> is different now, but it seems likely that archival tape will be
> feasible
> as long as cassettes are being made.
> Mike
> [log in to unmask]