----- Forwarded by Dick Spottswood/dick/AmericanU on 01/02/2004 11:11 AM -----
Dick Spottswood <[log in to unmask]>
Sent by: <[log in to unmask]>

01/02/2004 10:59 AM
Please respond to "tlist"

        To:        [log in to unmask], [log in to unmask]
        Subject:        Fw: Victor and COlumbia

Dear Pekka,

       I think that all the uproar about music downloading has made record companies more paranoid than ever, and public access to historical material is the last thing on their mind.  Recent decreases in profits, corporate mergers etc. have also tended to feed the bar-the-door mentality.  Let's hope it's temporary--and let's hope that legislators in the US and elsewhere will begin to understand the problems that denial of access creates. Certainly record companies are for-profit operations, not public institutions, but their increasing control and monopolization over these aspects of our cultural resources is a critical problem that requires legislative action, unless voluntary reforms are forthcoming.  

       As I'm sure you know, metal masters were melted down to support the war effort in the 1940s, and many no longer exist.  CBS still has a lot of foreign language masters from the 1920s-30s, but many metal parts for early jazz, blues and country material are extinct, because record companies placed no value on them in the 1940s.

       Thanks for the suggestion of eliminating special characters from an online EMOR discography.  The problem is that I'd then have to go back through the entire text to remove the ones already there!

       I'll circulate this to ARSC and tlist members to see if I can elicit any responses.

Happy 2004,


Pekka Gronow is an archivist, discographer and record producer in Helsinki.  I'll forward answers and observations to him.

----- Forwarded by Dick Spottswood/dick/AmericanU on 01/02/2004 10:36 AM -----
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01/02/2004 09:08 AM

       To:        Dick Spottswood <[log in to unmask]>


       Subject:        Victor and COlumbia

Happy new year !  It does not look bad so far, bright sun and a nice icy

I may have told you that the EMI archive at Hayes have fired all their old
staff, people who were willing to cooperate with researchers. The new
management does not want any outside access. We have been wondering at IASA
whether we could put some organized pressure on the company, after all they
have records from all the old world countries since a hundred years, in
some cases unique items.

How is the situation in the US ? I know access has always been a problem,
but how much pre- WW2 archival material do the old companies actually have
My guess is that EMI has about 80 - 90 per cent of all pre-war production,
but some items have broken and others just never got there. The seven-inch
Scandinavian Zonophone 70 000 series, for instance, is missing,. but the
later ten-inch 70000 series (different discs) is there. Many major operatic
items were apparently stolen in the 1950s.

CBS had metal parts, even of unissued stuff, and in the 1970s we even
persuaded CBS Finland to issue an LP of Hiski Salomaa records, for which
they were able to obtain master tapes from New York (from metal parts).

If we consider the total output of US Columbia and Victor, 1900-1945, how
much of this do the companies themselves have preserved, approximately
(five, ten or fifty per cent? ). Where is it now ? Has there ever been any
talk of the companies depositing it to LC ? If they do not have much, no
need to make it an issue ?

Incidentally, speaking of your ethnic records discography and the problems
of putting all those stange letters on the internet ? I realise to do it
really right would be very difficult, but did you consider the possibility
of reducing the text to the standard English alphabet, just leaving out all
the umlauts etc ? It would still be useful in that way, and it might be
possible to create a conversion program to do this "simplification"?   I am
asking because there are people around who miught be persuaded to do it for
fun ?