National Jukebox launches at Library of Congress

Joan Jett urged us to "put another dime in the jukebox, baby," but you won't need a dime for the Library of Congress' new National Jukebox.

The library is streaming "a vast archive of more than 10,000 pre-1925 recordings of music, speeches, poetry and comedy. Much of it hasn’t been widely available since World War I," reports Justin Jouvenal in the Washington Post. "Call it America’s iTunes."

Harry Connick Jr. appeared to help the library launch the service, Jouvenal reports.

"At launch, the Jukebox includes more than 10,000 recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925," Library of Congress officials wrote on the library's website. "Jukebox content will be increased regularly, with additional Victor recordings and acoustically recorded titles made by other Sony-owned U.S. labels, including Columbia, Okeh and others."

Matthew Lasar, writing for Ars Technica, divines the greatest richness of the jukebox: "But what the National Jukebox really offers is a deep glimpse into a world in which the categories that we've attached to genres — 'classical,' 'popular' and 'opera' — weren't always so clear," he writes. "This was an age when pop orchestra leaders played Berlioz, marching band conductors wrote operas, and opera divas sang 'Home, Sweet Home' for their often working-class fans. It was a time when it wasn't always so easy to tell a ragtime tune from the scherzo of a symphony."

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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Reader comments

Fri, May 13, 2011

Thank God for the Public Domain! If only Congress would stop extending copyright at the urging of Disney et al.

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