Many of the LPs have been getting remastering upgrades from the original vinyl and shellac sources. Currently, there are only about 1,000 titles for sale, but Amoeba is adding 10 or 15 more every day.
Some Vinyl Vaults artists are readily familiar, and in some cases Amoeba’s source material emanates from its owners’ own collections. Some of Prinz’s rare Louis Armstrong 78s were digitized and are being sold as downloads, while [Amoeba co-owner Marc] Weinstein’s prized collection of 144 Sun Ra albums has also been ripped.
Best of all, for those concerned about royalties going in the right place, the digital sale rights have been cleared wherever possible – and for those artists so obscure that no proper catalogue ownership can be determined, profits from the sale of those records will go into an escrow account, where any claimants can properly earn what’s theirs.
Now, certainly The Second Disc’s coverage isn’t usually focused on artists you’ve never heard of – or, if you haven’t, they’re at least catalogues that are owned by a major label. But I for one certainly applaud Amoeba’s efforts.
It’s easy to dispute the claim that the ease of Internet distribution (whether legal or not) has made it easy to find everything you want to add to your music library. How many single-only remixes or hard-to-find edits can you think of that still haven’t made it past your old vinyl, or at the very least, out-of-print maxi-CD singles? I can think of plenty – and if it’s going to take outside interests like a major record store to loose those chains around the songs we want to hear, have at it!
And what of you, dear reader? What great tracks do you wish your local indies would digitize for your consumption? Let us know in the comments!