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Ethical Access to Live Recordings: Artists & Fans

Live music field recordings can be stunning, vital, unique - and messy. It’s hard to figure out what the songs are, who’s performing, and how to sort out the rights of performers and songwriters, particularly when the recordings were made decades ago. University of Michigan Professor Paul Conway and his fellow professors are leading a team of students in an effort to break through the barriers to hearing the past. Their technology system delivers digitized and preserved sound recordings of live performances from two radically different collections: amazing live performances by pioneers of the Americana and folk scenes in the 1970s and 1980s recorded from one of the most influential folk music venues in America; and field recordings made from 1965 to 1980 by the legendary Leo Sarkisian, founder and producer of the Voice of America’s longest-running English-language program, “Music Time in Africa.” Along the way, the project helps musicians manage orphaned recordings and copyrights.

Additional Supporting Materials

Questions Answered

  1. If performers on live in-the-field recordings participate in an online social tagging system, will fans rise to the occasion and make higher quality contributions?
  2. Given how complicated the copyright situation is with live recordings, can performers help overcome access barriers by licensing their songs through Creative Commons?
  3. What are the common elements of recordings of Americana and African field recordings that might make it possible to put such diversity in a single online delivery system?
  4. How could musicians use such a system for their own live recordings?
  5. What lessons can we learn from this project that will help other collections of live field recordings?

Speakers

Organizer

Paul Conway University of Michigan School of Information


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