The Library plans to catalog and digitize the collection and make it available for public online streaming this upcoming spring. The collection features historic recordings from Billie Holiday, Bing Crosby, and Louis Armstrong among others, including “Frim Fram Sauce” by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby, and “Ain’t Misbehavin'” by Louis Armstrong.
“It is certainly within the national interest to acquire this recorded collection, and all its accompanying materials, for custodial care,” Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in a press release Monday, “A surprisingly high percentage of America’s recording heritage since the early part of the 20th century has been lost due to neglect and deterioration.”
The collection will be digitized at the Library’s Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia. The Library’s Recorded Sound Section currently has around three million items, most of which are noncommercial.
Engadget points out that it does not appear that the intellectual property rights will pass with the recordings, “as the press release states this agreement continues the Library’s ‘unprecedented autority to stream commercially owned sound recordings online.'”