Want to listen to the music of your parents or grandparents? You can now do so, thanks to the Internet Archive. The Great 78 Project is a new project by the Internet Archive to preserve 78 rpm records that has released about 26,000 records as of today. One new digitized 78 rpm record is being added to the online collection every 10 minutes. More than 200,000 records are expected to be available online when the project is completed. In fact, you can even add your collection of 78 RPM records as well.
Disclaimer: Your taste in music will dictate the usefulness of this collection for you.
You can play the music online or else download any of the records to your computer and save them for later use. Downloads are available in a number of file formats including MP3 and M3U. Images of most of the records are also available.
For example, you can listen to blues legend Muddy Waters singing “I Don’t Know Why” recorded in 1954 at http://bit.ly/2usK8y0.
Another Disclaimer: I love the music of some of the old-time blues singers. I am listening to lots of music from The Great 78 Project as I write this article.
78 rpm records were published between about 1898 to the 1950s. The digitized copies of the original 78 rpm records preserve imperfections and the surface noise of the recordings. The recordings were released mostly on Shellac, a fragile predecessor to the LP.
The Internet Archive 78 RPM Records Archive collection may be found by starting at: https://archive.org/details/78rpm. Use the “Search this Collection” box on that page to quickly find what you are looking for,