About

The British Music Archive exists as a historical and cultural library of commercially unreleased sound recordings and associated memorabilia. We are a voluntary, non-profit organisation committed to salvaging, restoring and preserving forgotten artefacts of the most prolific art form of the twentieth century. As a recognised major resource, the BMA presents a fascinating insight into an otherwise virtually unknown and previously unrecognised part of contemporary British history.

Our purpose is to preserve and restore commercially unreleased and culturally significant recorded music revealing its impact and real legacy in the wider aspects of popular culture. Original sound recordings are freely available via music streaming media as both an online library and as an educational resource.

Our key aim is to advance the education objectives of the public in the history and social impact of popular music in all its forms. We seek to work alongside localised arts and youth initiatives in providing this resource for their fulfilment and education. The BMA will also provide significant benefits to those working in FE and HE programs nationwide providing valuable support and resources and serving to inspire those interested in audio technology.

The BMA have an extensive understanding of, and experience in, the preservation, storage and importantly, the restoration of this impressive archive. As a resource, both practically and in research, it reveals a valuable insight around the techniques employed by varied recording engineers and producers whose knowledge and expertise will remain hugely influential over their contemporary counterparts.

Since the 1950s, popular music has rapidly evolved to become not only a fundamental cultural driver and barometer, but also great popular art. It is now recognised as a vital mirror to the seismic shifts in culture and society as a whole and therefore crucial in understanding our own social history.

Music like any recognised art form needs to be preserved for the benefit of the general public and historians present and future. Whilst art and sculpture is archived in a gallery, literature in a library and architecture is listed and vehemently protected, music has played just as real and significant a role in the cultural shift of modern British society and rightly deserves to be preserved with equal regard.

 Collaborators

Greg Smith, Co-founder and head of research – greg.smith@britishmusicarchive.com

With a passionate fascination and love for vintage British rock and pop, I dedicated a great deal of my time in researching the lesser known and less-celebrated musicians and songwriters of the 1960s and 1970s. Having been fortunate enough to meet such endearing people as Art Wood of The Artwoods and Mike Evans of The Action (both of whom are very sadly, no longer with us) and numerous other talented musicians, I found myself working alongside them in bringing their music to a new audience with eager and fresh ears.

Having been involved with a number of specialist and retrospective outlets over the last twenty years, I could see that although there was a significant amount of ‘labour-of-love’ ideals applied to this arena, it offered only limited exposure and as such, it inadvertently failed to give the music the longevity it so deserved and therefore, the recordings concerned were once again denied their recognition in British rock and roll heritage. Since 2008, I had been working with the idea of giving this precious music the cultural recognition and longevity it deserved.

Another chief factor in initiating the British Music Archive was related to nationally recognised institutions. It appeared that they did not recognise the key points in our endeavours and as such, recognise the importance of preserving such material. This was due to the nature of the material falling outside of their immediate remit.

Such undeserved neglect and automatic abandonment of a valuable piece of our cultural, musical heritage was saddening, but also inspiring. The inspiration has thus resulted in what I hope will pay enormous tribute to the artists both within the British Music Archive, those outside and those who continue to listen and play.

John Paul Braddock, Co-founder and head audio engineer – jp.braddock@britishmusicarchive.com

Having worked in the audio industry for over twenty years, in the last decade my focus has been in the arena of mastering in which I’ve produced over hundreds of commercial releases in all walks of music. In recent years I’ve also started to pass on my knowledge lecturing in mastering for the engineering department at De Montfort University alongside my professional mastering work.

In this journey through an audio engineers life and with my love for all things musically quirky I’ve been led to discovery of many classic tunes from decades past which have either not seen the light of day or have done so with limited exposure.

The opportunity to be involved in this project quantifies many of the aspects of music I enjoy. Being able to share hidden treasures with a wider audience, bring together artists who may have long since parted company. Restoring works back to life or even improving upon them, educating up and coming engineers in the skills required to most importantly preserve what we can for future generations to enjoy.

More than anything I hope my children get that same buzz from music I do and this archive becomes a source of hidden treasures for their musical growth.

Tom Dodds, Co-founder, Developer and audio engineer – tom.dodds@britishmusicarchive.com

I’m proud to help facilitate the British Music Archive and I’m continually surprised by the warm reception from the public. It’s fascinating to hear the archive of unreleased music, a real window into the music culture and the energy that existed in the recordings. I’d like to continue to support the project and give my input where required.

I take care of the website and I’m recently looking into the metadata extraction from the music and how we can use that to index and sort the content.

If there’s anyone out there who would like to contribute to the design of the site and offer their input, please contact me.

Tom Bacon, Archive and audio engineer – tom.bacon@britishmusicarchive.com

After completing my degree in the summer of 2011 in Audio and Recording Technology at De Montfort University the opportunity to work on the BMA project was a great reward. I am a big fan of vintage guitar gear so archiving music with classic rock and psychedelic sounds is great fun and a valuable insight it. Hearing music that was not given a lot of exposure commercially at the time has also really opened my eyes to differing aspects of the 60’s sound. This experience will defiantly help in all my future productions.

Phili Hawyes, Administration and funding – Phili.hawyes@britishmusicarchive.com

Enrico Momo, Web Editor and audio engineer – momo.enrico@britmusarc.com

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