KCRW Launches Campaign to Save Music Library

18790The station will employ tools of modern technology to preserve the music archive of more than 60,000 recordings.






















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.


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 ft 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.


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.  


Within 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 decades.  


"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 and RealNetworks have provided lead grants of $100,000, 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.


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