Internet Archive: Live Music Archive

Audio Archive
I’m going to change things up a bit today to discuss a fantastic website for discovering live recordings by your favorite artists(maybe). The site’s name is “Live Music Archive” and it is to be found at This site is a sub-site of the Internet Archive collective. According to the Internet Archive their goal goes something like this, “The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.”, a noble cause indeed. The site offers a wide variety of materials across many mediums. You could spend quite a long time combing through the site even if you stick to just the live recordings, there are thousands and thousands of them.

As I said earlier one part of the Internet Archive is dedicated to preserving and sharing live music. Now you may be thinking to yourself, is that legal? Well, yes, yes it is. The only way for a particular band’s music is to be found on the live music archive is for the band to provide explicit permission stating so. For completeness LMA even publishes the replies by the artists for all to see(only the artists that agree to allow their music to be shared, the opt-out letters are not posted). Some artists reply with a quick short response, not much to note but some reply with a heartfelt response that shows they are really into supporting their fans by allowing them to distribute their recordings amongst themselves using this medium. The one drawback to all this is for a band to be shared it must reply to the request. My bet is many bands make themselves unavailable to such requests so they’ll never be listed not because they don’t want to be but simply because they aren’t available for verification.

Once you have located a recording you want you’ll notice in most cases it is available in multiple formats. From pre-encoded mp3s ready to go right on your ipod to many lossless formats which have huge file sizes. With the lossless files you can create perfect quality cd’s or just keep the files and encode them yourself if you have your own method that you prefer. There is a list of bands on the site that allow their music to be shared, which can be found here. And also a list of bands that don’t allow their music to be archived, which can be found here. I find both lists to be quite interesting. The “allow” list is great because it’s your index to what you can expect to find on the site. The “opt out” list is neat too because you can see what bands are being stingy with their music distribution ideals.

There are tons of recordings there, complete with reviews and in some cases commentary by the artists, really a great resource. I took a quick rundown of the allow roster and I’ll list my artists of interest below, these aren’t all my favorites but I have a little more respect for anyone I found on the list…

Andrew Bird
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Butthole Surfers
Carolina Chocolate Drops
Chicago Afrobeat Project
Chicken Strut
Dale Watson
Death Cab for Cutie
Denver Funk Mob
Hot Jazz Caravan
Ben Kweller
Mission of Burma
Murder City Devils
Smashing Pumpkins
Ted Leo
The Decemberists
The Evens
Verve Pipe
The Legendary Shack Shakers

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