Save the Music Library
The station will employ tools of modern technology to preserve the irreplaceable music archive of more than 60,000 recordings.
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Produced by The Naturalist, www.thenaturalistproject.com
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The music library in the basement of Santa
Monica-based public radio station KCRW (89.9 FM and KCRW.com) houses a priceless collection
of more than 60,000 recordings of great historical importance and cultural relevance. The station is
launching a major effort to save this precious resource and preserve it for years to come with
The Music Match: A Campaign to Save KCRW’s Library .
There is no library in any radio station that is comparable to KCRW’s in breadth
or depth. The library has been shaped over three decades and its influence has been profound as
KCRW’s DJs have become major tastemakers. The resources of the library inspired soundtracks
for entertainment vehicles like The Matrix, Six Feet Under, Shrek, Little Miss Sunshine and a
myriad of commercials, video games and more. All of this is currently housed in a 15 X 20 foot room
with CD drawers and vinyl racks stacked floor to ceiling – about the size of a walk-in closet.
This campaign will raise the funds necessary to store the contents of the library as the highest fidelity digital sound files and allow our DJs to explore the full range of music available to them without the current physical limitations. (Imagine having to climb a ladder to reach that perfect Miles Davis record every time you want to play it on air). The library is the primary resource for both KCRW’s on-air DJs and a 24/7 online music stream as well.
has been at the forefront of the changing media industry for more than a decade and in order for the
station to grow, the library must grow along with it.
“KCRW is defined by its
music. All of our music directors and hosts have expanded the library based on their unique tastes
with only one thing in common – marvelous artistry,” said General Manager Ruth Seymour.
the stacks and shelves of the music library reside recordings in a variety of formats (vinyl,
reel-to-reel, cassette, DAT, CD) and of all genres and eras, from rare jazz performances to the
latest indie-rock sensations. A significant number of the recordings are rare and irreplaceable.
They also include extensive live performances from KCRW’s studios that go back more than two
"More than half of the vinyl – some 8,000 albums – are releases you'll never find on CD," says KCRW's first Music Director and current Café LA host, Tom Schnabel. "Much of it is priceless."
The Annenberg Foundation, RealNetworks, Universal Studios BluWave Audio, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Nonesuch.com, SonyBMG, Scott Milano and Foodchain Records, Doug Ring and Cindy Miscikowski, and Adele Yellin are the campaign's Major Music Matchmakers, and proceeds from this year's sold-out benefit concert, A Sounds Eclectic Evening, will go towards the modernization process. The station is also seeking matching funds from corporations, foundations, and major donors, in addition to KCRW’s loyal listeners.
The collection has been threatened by earthquake and flooding as well as the ravages of time – tape is disintegrating, vinyl is warping and CDs are becoming scratched. Bringing the library up to the same standards as KCRW’s state-of-the-art studios will allow us both to preserve the collection and make it more accessible and important as a resource for creative programming and innovation.