Tag Archives: live music archive

Live Music Archive Collection Now Tops 250,000 Recordings

For fans wanting to relive an epic concert or discover upcoming bands, there are now more than 250,000 recordings in the Live Music Archive to enjoy. 

The collection has steadily grown over the past 20 years as a collaborative effort between Internet Archive staff and dedicated, music-loving volunteers. At a pace of uploading nearly 30 items a day, the Live Music Archive reached the one-quarter million recording mark in June, and now takes up more than 250 terabytes of data on Internet Archive servers.

“It’s a huge victory for the open web,” said founder of the Internet Archive Brewster Kahle, about the Live Music Archive, which he describes as “fantastically popular” with the public. “Fans have helped build it. Bands have supported it. And the Internet Archive has continued to scale it to be able to meet the demand.”

For years, concert-goers recorded and traded tapes, but in 2002, the Internet Archive offered a reliable infrastructure to preserve performances files. Partnering with the etree music community, the Live Music Archive was established to provide ongoing, free access to lossless and MP3-encoded audio recordings. 

(For more on its history, see https://blog.archive.org/2022/08/12/celebrating-20-years-of-the-live-music-archive/.)

“It shouldn’t cost to give something away,” said Kahle, lamenting fees that can be charged to host items online. “We wanted to make it possible for people to make things permanently available without having to sell their souls to a platform that is going to exploit it for advertising. That just seemed like the world that should exist, and we thought we could play a role.”

Since its launch two decades ago, more than 8,000 artists have given permission to have recordings of their shows archived on the Live Music Archive, and users from around the world have listened to files more than 600 million times. The collection includes the iconic Grateful Dead, as well as aspiring musicians trying to garner attention from the free outlet that spans jambands, folk singers, bluegrass, rock, pop, jazz, classical and experimental music.

The 250,000th item was a Dead and Company show from June 18, 2023.

In 2002, Jonathan Aizen, a technology entrepreneur who helped build the Live Music Archive, said having a free, non-profit, forever host for concert recordings was embraced by music fans. “Until working with the Internet Archive, there were no coordinated and reliable means to preserve and distribute the recordings,” Aizen said. “The only way that these things were being preserved was by copying them — and that was very haphazard, so the music community was very excited.”

Over time, Aizen said it’s been impressive just how many artists have allowed their concerts to be recorded and the organic way the Live Music Archive has grown. “When we started, I had no sense it would last two decades,” he said. “I think it’s really compelling that these recordings are being preserved for posterity. I also didn’t expect the breadth of artists. It’s fair to say that it’s exceeded my expectations by quite a bit.”

In addition to being a resource for fans, the Live Music Archive has been a way for musicians to be discovered. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the accessibility of the recordings on the Internet Archive is exposing bands and drawing people in who then go to the show,” he said. Devoted listeners can track the progress of a band’s career and follow the way songs are played differently on different nights, noting the improvisational element of live recordings, Aizen added.

The passion of the volunteers to curate the collection has been at the heart of the Live Music Archive and is a testament to the strength of the live music community supporting bands. 

David Mallick began uploading to the Live Music Archive in the early days and then came on board as a volunteer curator for about 10 years. He helped recruit bands to participate and helped troubleshoot recordings that others had uploaded. Mallick said free unlimited bandwidth and storage is appealing to musicians, especially for smaller bands just getting started and those who don’t mind sharing their unvarnished recordings. 

“It’s a ‘no ego’ project for the band,” Mallick said. “These are bands that are comfortable enough with their live performances to just say ‘Yeah, put up whatever’ – even if they flubbed a note, screwed up a song, or a fan grabbed a mic.”

Every time Mallick added a recording to the Live Music Archive, he said it was rewarding to know it would always be there for others to hear. “It’s so well organized. Archivists are hosting it, making it uniform, searchable and easy to find things,” he said. 

Added Aizen: “Music is universal — it’s cross cultural and across time,” Aizen said. “To be able to create access, in a world where everything is so commercialized, and just having music be freely accessible, with no ads — that is also something that’s really just special.”

Audio / Video player updated – to jwplayer v8.2

We updated our audio/video (and TV) 3rd party JS-based player from v6.8 to v8.2 today.

This was updated with some code to have the same feature set as before, as well as new:

  • much nicer cosmetic/look updates
  • nice “rewind 10 seconds” button
  • controls are now in an updated control bar
  • (video) ‘Related Items’ now uses the same (better) recommendations from the bottom of an archive.org /details/ page
  • Airplay (Safari) and Chromecast basic casting controls in player
  • playback speed rate control now easier to use / set
  • playback keyboard control with SPACE and left , right and up, down keys
  • (video) Web VTT (captions) has much better user interface and display
  • flash is now only used to play audio/video if html5 doesnt work (flash does not do layout or controls now)

Here’s some before / after screenshots:

We’ve dropped the www.! Our preferred/canonical url is now http://archive.org

Dear Patrons,

Last Thursday we pushed out changes to drop the “www.” prefix from our urls
so that we have the newer/shorter style urls start like:


We intend to keep this change permanently.

We know there will be a few minor breaks here and there especially from some third-party applications that might not handle “301 Moved Temporarily” redirects (if you have something flash-based that needs http://www.archive.org/crossdomain.xml we caught that breakage and that url still works now (that is, it can be either requested either with or without the lead “www.” as an exception now). We’re happy to work with anyone having issues — feel free to reply to this post and let us know.

Best wishes, and now go spend those four characters saved on something fun 😉

new audio/video player — safari/IE improvements

below the current audio/video player on archive.org you have probably seen by now the link:

Would you like to try our new audio/video player? (beta!)

We had some known problems in this beta rollout that affected audio MP3 playback.

Specifically, on Safari, some 30-70% of the time (and it varied widely) the MP3 loading/setup would fail.  This has been fixed.   On Internet Explorer, we didn’t have the MP3 “flash based playback” option setup using the new audio player — and the lead developer, Michael Dale, came over today and fixed that for us.   Hooray!

So at this point, I believe the audio/video player is true “beta” — feature complete with a few things to smooth out left but the finish line is close:

1) i need to add back in captions/subtitles (it’s there in the player, just need to feed them through with our playlist)

2) video items with 3+ videos may play the last video 2x.  working on that!  😎

hopefully, we can all listen to some nice archive music this weekend in peace without issues with this new player!  now grab your headphones or turn up those speakers…


Images on the Live Music Archive!

A note from the forums…

Hi there,

We want to encourage all of you to attach any image files you may have to the live shows you upload. A good photo of a band playing can really enhance an item; although the recordings are certainly the most important part, it’s always fun to see the band playing.

Here are some examples of items that are rounded out with interesting images:

  • A Trampled by Turtles show with images from the show attached
  • A Yonder Mountain String Band show with a photo of the ticket stub attached
  • A John Mayer show with a photo of the cover of the CD which was made from the show
  • A Mountain Goats show with a photo of John Darnielle attached
  • Please add photos you may have to update your shows and make the Live Music Archive that much more exciting 🙂

    Thanks for all you do to contribute to archive.org!


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    Concerts On This Day in History

    I’m always intrigued by “this day in history” type of facts. There’s some sort of immediacy to them that makes you feel connected to the past in a more unique way. That’s why I always like to check the “Shows on This Day in History” in the Live Music Archive.

    With the weekend only hours away, many of you will be sure to check out local listings to see where you can get your live music fix. If it’s a slow week in your city or the pocketbook is a little dry, the Archive has you covered.

    Here are some of my favorite shows that have been played on February 6:

  • Matisyahu live at The Showbox
  • Mountain Goats live at Cow Haus
  • Michael Franti and Spearhead live at Cajun House
  • Elliott Smith live at Silverlake Lounge note:incorrect song titles
  • Smashing Pumpkins live at The Edge
  • Warren Zevon live at Irving Plaza
  • Leftover Salmon live at Crystal Ballroom
  • Grateful Dead live at Henry J Kaiser Convention
  • Ekoostik Hookah live at The Metro
  • So, on this day in history, Ariel Sharon was elected Prime Minister of Israel, Monopoly went on sale for the first time, the Spanish-American war ended, Massachusetts became the sixth state in the Union, the first dog sledding competition happened in the Olympics, and a lot of bands performed some excellent shows.

    –Cara Binder

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    Sharing is Caring: More Than 56,000 Live Shows Available

    If you’re a live music fan, it’s likely you’ve visited our Live Music Archive. The LMA is a place where willing bands and dedicated fans can freely trade recordings of live shows for non-commercial use. It’s reminiscent of the bygone days of tape trading except with a bigger fan base and more shows than thousands of tapes could hold.

    In June 2008, Internet Archive’s Director and Co-Founder, Brewster Kahle, predicted that by January 2009 there would be 55,000 individual live shows on the Archive. Well here we are, and Brewster was correct; there are now more than 56,000 shows to treat yourself to. CDs can be expensive and tickets to all of the shows you want to see can quickly drain the wallet, but because so many bands are taking part in the etree movement, Internet Archive is able to freely supply users with some of the best live shows around.

    If you don’t see a band on the LMA, feel free to contact them yourself to see if they would be willing to have their music archived and shared. They can then send a simple email to etree@archive.org to be included, and fans can begin to share recorded shows. For some more information on how on the LMA works, visit our FAQ page.

    Brewster’s second prediction was 60,000 shows by Memorial Day. If that’s the case, you’ll be able to have a pseudo-summer music festival on your porch. Grab some friends, food, beer, speakers, and your laptop.

    –Cara Binder

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    Tales of the Live Music Archive

    It’s quite tempting to visit Internet Archive’s Live Music Archive and be drawn to the bands you’re familiar with and adore. Grateful Dead, Smashing Pumpkins, Jason Mraz, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Guster all beg you to choose their name, boasting 300+ shows and countless downloads. Don’t get me wrong, I can click on some of those bands all day and get completely wrapped up in their myriad of live shows. One of the joys of the Archive, however, is to get exposed to those smaller bands that either are on the brink of making it big or have met their demise years ago with only the Archive paying them homage.

    Here’s a teaser list of what you can find in the LMA with just a few clicks of the mouse:

  • Acoustic Vibration Appreciation Society is classic North Carolinian bluegrass that will make you dance.
  • Sara Petite, a singer/songwriter from the West coast, has a charming music style with meaningful lyrics.
  • Shell Stamps Band is a jam-band of sorts, a side project of the more well-known Ancient Harmony.
  • Betsy Franck and the Bareknuckle Band is a fun, worthwhile listen. They’re a gutsy, bluesy group from Georgia.
  • Charlie Parr is a supremely talented folk/bluegrass artist hailing from Minneapolis. You’ll hear washboards backing up Parr’s strong voice.
  • Madgrass offers a collection of covers with their own twangy spin. Covers include songs by Neil Young, Grateful Dead, and Old Crow Medicine Show.
  • The Microphones, fronted by Phil Elvrum and later renamed Mount Eerie, is an indie-rock band. The good, genuine kind of indie-rock with unique sounds and heartfelt lyrics.
  • The Strawberry Allstars, a pop electronic band from Maine, will surprise you with their creative use of fast techno sounds infused with a strong beat and interesting vocals.
  • Of course, there are valid reasons that some bands only have a couple shows uploaded and zero downloads, but, sometimes, those are just as much fun to find.

    –Cara Binder