(NEW YORK CITY, NY) – New York City’s ARChive of Contemporary Music (ARC) is a cultural treasure packed with actual treasures. Inside the walls of this not-for-profit private research library in TriBeCa are 3 million physical audio recordings, many on vinyl records. The ARC’s founder, Bob George, is also a cultural treasure – warm, obsessive, kind, committed, and a walking encyclopedia of popular music – from obscure folk to the avant-garde. In recent years, Bob’s been working closely with the Internet Archive to digitize many of the ARC’s scarce 78s for broader access and, yes, preservation. Bob launched ARC in 1985 when his own record collection outgrew his apartment. Now the ARC needs help. They’ve launched a GoFundMe to raise $100,000 to keep the ARC alive.
From Rolling Stone: “Far from the kind of crackpot hoarding that sometimes happens in cities, George’s archive has been supported by powerhouses in music and entertainment. It houses Keith Richards’ blues collection. Their current board is varied enough to include both Youssou N’Dour and Paul Simon (Lou Reed and David Bowie were both once members). It consulted for Tom Hanks on the making of That Thing You Do. It’s the go-to repository for album art for everything from Grammy exhibits to Taschen books… George’s commitment is dogged. When Martin Scorsese wanted an obscure Italian song in Goodfellas, George roamed Little Italy humming the tune until someone recognized it (“You can solve every problem in New York if you just walk through it,” he says).
At a time when some in the city were
scrubbing Keith Haring murals off subway platforms, George was welcoming every
genre, including then-unpopular punk and hip-hop (among the archive’s greatest
collection is a trove of punk 45s). “We could make the good and goofy come
alive,” he says, “because no museum or university library is going to do that.
They only want things after they’ve gotten valuable. It’s a small view of
value. We see things differently. We see the value in everything.”