Wednesday, May 2, 2012


FMA, the FreeMusicArchive is a project of WFMU. One of the top rated radio stations in the US, WFMU has recieved recognition from Rolling Stone, the New York Times, Billboard, the Village Voice and more. As part of their philosophy that "radio has always offered public free access" to music, the FMA project provides free legal audio files and is inspired by the Creative Commons and open source movements.

Using grant money from the New York State Music Fund, FMA went online in 2009. The current archive of music includes close to 50,000 "podsafe" songs in a variety of genres covering more than a century's worth of culture. For example, if you browse the "Blues" section, you'll find songs originally recorded more than 100 years ago on cylinders that have been cleaned and archived by the University of California, Santa Barbara as well as contributions from current artists as recently as 2012.

Although not everything they present is Creative Commons, you can rest assured that it is all legal for your personal use. Because the collection is curated and any new additions are by invitation only, what you get is screened for quality. You'll also find informative text such as bios and links to relevant other resources as well as occasional links to "tip" the artists via PayPal.

Selection 1 this time around is a song by Big Bill Broonzy, most likely the 1941 recording. Credited as one of the authors of Key to the Highway, his musical career spanned about 40 years, from the 1920s until his death in 1958. Baby Please Don't Go, credited to Big Joe Williams, has - according to Allmusic - been released more than 1,000 times.
Big Bill Broonzy: Baby Please Don't Go

Selection 2 is a ~1909 recording of Gondolier and Temptation Rag played by Albert Benzler and Fred van Eps. Benzler was a studio musician for the Edison Company. Van Eps likewise worked (playing banjo) for the Edison Company.
Albert Benzler & Fred van Eps: Gondolier & Temptation Rag

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