Live Music Archive now has over 250,000 concert recordings you can listen to for free

Since 2002, the collection has provided access to lossless and MP3-encoded audio recordings, at zero cost to users.

Grateful Dead

Image: Ed Perlstein / Getty Images

Two decades after its launch, the Live Music Archive has amassed over 250,000 concert recordings you can listen to for free.

A joint effort between Internet Archive staff and volunteers, the non-profit and ad-free collection reached the one-quarter million milestone in June, and now takes up more than 250 terabytes of data on Internet Archive servers.

“It’s a huge victory for the open web,” said Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive (via blog.archive). “Fans have helped build it. Bands have supported it. And the Internet Archive has continued to scale it to be able to meet the demand.”

“It shouldn’t cost to give something away,” Kahle said, adding that “We wanted to make it possible for people to make things permanently available without having to sell their souls to a platform that is going to exploit it for advertising. That just seemed like the world that should exist, and we thought we could play a role.”

In 2002, Internet Archive partnered with the etree music community to launch Live Music Archive with the aim of providing ongoing, free access to lossless and MP3-encoded audio recordings.

Since its inception, more than 8,000 artists have given permission to have recordings of their shows archived on the Live Music Archive; The site has also clocked over 600 million listens, with nearly 30 items uploaded a day.

In addition to its expansive Grateful Dead collection, the archive is also known for featuring the works of aspiring musicians across a variety of genres.

“Until working with the Internet Archive, there were no coordinated and reliable means to preserve and distribute the recordings,” said Jonathan Aizen, a technology entrepreneur who helped build the Live Music Archive. “The only way that these things were being preserved was by copying them — and that was very haphazard, so the music community was very excited.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the accessibility of the recordings on the Internet Archive is exposing bands and drawing people in who then go to the show,” he said.

Check out the collection over at Live Music Archive.


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