The start of the pandemic in 2020 had immediate effects on the Internet Archive, especially regarding the San Francisco-located headquarters.
A bustling building full of many dozens of simultaneous projects and conversations became an empty shell. The whole world was grappling with the new situation, and for the Archive, it meant many of the all-hands meetings were moved to strictly online, using Zoom conferencing. We learned fast to be online-first, where we remain currently.
There was one small glimmer of light in this darkness.
It was decided to hire artists to give pre-meeting musical performances at our weekly all-hands. This would add a bit of uplift to the morning gatherings, and allow musicians who had lost access to public performances to make a little income and share their music with a grateful audience of dozens of Internet Archive employees. It was a rousing success, and performances were added to our Friday Lunches as well.
The variety of musicians and performances have been amazing: Instrumentalists, Singers, Dancers, and a breathtaking spectrum of styles and acts have made an appearance on our (virtual) stage.
As was covered in a blog post in 2020, all sorts of great stories and opportunities to learn about these artists have been added to the record. The artists were asked if the Archive could archive their performances, and many have agreed.
The number of music concerts in The Internet Archive Musiczoom Collection has now passed over 200 individual works.
Some performers are clearly adjusting to their new circumstances, while others have created entire “online stages” for their performances. All of them show remarkable talent and resilience in willingness to do this strange “gig”, and we’ve even had repeat performances over the years.
We continue to enjoy the creative spirits that start our all-hands, and if you didn’t know about this growing and enjoyable collection… you do now.
Stop by anytime. And note that many of these performances have links to directly support the artists; please do if you can.