Library of Congress gets first big gift of major label music

By Nate Anderson

The largest music company in the world has just given the largest audio-visual gift ever to one of the largest libraries in the world, the US Library of Congress. Universal will donate more than 200,000 master recordings from the 1920s-1940s to the Library, which will make this rare music available to the public over the Web.

The recordings come from Universal’s in-house collection and feature the best existing master copies of Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas" in 1947 and Les Paul doing the "Guitar Boogie." The master recordings currently reside on metal and lacquer discs, with some on mono tape, and they feature plenty of material that was never released from such artists as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong.

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