The Internet Archive is one of the greatest organizations of our time. Their purpose “is to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge.” They are champions of open access and preservation, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks of history. So clearly, they are my fucking heroes.
Part of their massive library includes vinyl rips of an insane variety of records, most of which are no longer available in any form. It’s an incredibly valuable resource. However, I see a pretty big problem and I intend to help. The problem is their download speeds are fucking abysmal. It doesn’t matter how fast your internet connection is; you’re lucky if you average 200 KBps when downloading from IA. Now if you’re anything like me and you want to download from IA in bulk, you’re going to have a bad time. But there’s good news! I had the bad time for you so you don’t have to have a bad time. I downloaded over 20,000 tracks primarily consisting of traditional folk music from around the world and anything “not music.”
Unfortunately for you, I’m not a true masochist. I only downloaded the mp3s, the cover image, and some additional contextual files which usually only totaled less than 100 MB per record. However, there’s also HD TIF scans of the artwork and discs for each release that adds at least another 1 GB to the total size. I couldn’t subject myself to the pain of downloading potentially terabytes of data from IA. Ideally, I would have downloaded all of these scans too (I did for some) but the mp3s were the priority so that’s what I got. Hypothetically, we can just go view the scans on IA if we need to.
Another problem that cropped up was their tagging wasn’t up to my standards, so everything is getting cleaned up with the usual expected stuff like song titles and track numbers but I’m also making sure everything has a date, genre, publisher, and album art, along with stuff like performer, disc title, and catalog number when deemed relevant. So needless to say, this isn’t a project that will be finished anytime soon. I figured I’ve cleaned up enough to share, though, and that’s what this batch is.
This is a selection of records released by Caedmon and Folkways. It’s mostly stuff with artist names from the beginning of the alphabet but my tagging changed some of that (like a bunch of records where Anthony Quayle reads from various authors, but I made the Album Artist name the author, the Performer the reader, and the Artist the author and reader, so depending on how you sort your shit, you might find his readings from The Iliad under “H” for Homer).
So here you go. 60+ records from Folkways and Caedmon (a pillar in the spoken word records field). The bulk of this is non-music but there’s a some early recordings from the Middle East and Africa, and other stuff sprinkled in. It’s one big 11 GB zip file; I didn’t have the time to make separate zips of each record like I did in the last OOPs batch. And since some of these aren’t listed in Discogs, I just linked to their page in IA.
Side note: I’ve always stayed away from sharing Folkways records in my OOPs posts because for the most part, those records are still available through Folkways. Not the vinyl, but they have digital versions of almost their entire back catalog. I’m not sure how or why IA is allowed to share these records. Some of the stuff on IA only has 30 second samples for each track and some have the full audio. Maybe those are just the ones that Folkways knows about and asked them to take down? If you have any insight, definitely let me know. But in the meantime, I figure if IA can share them, I can too.
Here’s everything in this batch: