British Library Sound Archive

What is the Sound Archive?

The British Library Sound Archive holds one of the largest and most wide-ranging collections of popular music in the world. It contains commercial releases, documentaries, interviews and live performances from all eras and genres together with magazines, fanzines, books and other publications to provide the user with a comprehensive picture of popular music and its history. They collect all genres from Jazz to Grime, Music Hall to Metal, Indie Rock to Ambient and are always trying to expand their collection.

There is a legal requirement for publishers of books and periodicals to submit a copy of their publications to the British Library. However, as no such requirement exists for music, they rely on the generous support of record labels, distributors and individuals who voluntarily donate recordings to their collection.

They are currently embarking on one of their largest ever projects – Save Our Sounds, the integration with Kudos is part of that project.

How is Kudos involved?

In addition to building their collection of physical items, The British Library aim to catalogue and archive the vast amount of digital music released each year. To that end they have developed a system which allows Kudos to automatically deliver your release information to be instantly added to their archive – preserving the release and recording its place in history, ensuring it will be available for future generations to discover.

What Happens to Your Releases?

With your permission, we will donate your repertoire data to The British Library. They will catalogue, preserve and archive the music as part of Britain’s audio & cultural heritage. Your releases will then be available on a database of commercially released music that’s available to search (on a restricted access server) by anyone holding a British Library readers pass (writers, researchers etc.) who visits in-person either the British Library, London or their sister site in Boston Spa, Yorkshire.

They are a cultural archive rather than a commercial one. They do not allow any material to go out on loan or be downloaded and they comply with current copyright legislation regarding sound recordings.
No copies can be made of recordings in their collection other than for their own conservation purposes without the written permission of the appropriate copyright holders.
When accessioned the releases would be part of the Sound & Moving Image collection and a catalogue record created. This catalogue record will also appear in the main British Library catalogue. The catalogue record may contain metadata that you have supplied.

How Do I Opt-In?

Should you wish to take part in this project and have your music preserved in the National Collection, please inform your label manager that you would like to opt in to the scheme and they can subscribe your catalogue to the service.

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