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Recording Academy Focuses on Digital Archiving

The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers (P&E) Wing hosted a panel discussion for attendees of the 2008 International Folk Alliance Conference held at the Marriott Hotel in Memphis, Tenn. The event, entitled “Protecting Your Assets!,” teamed Nashville-based P&E Wing members with noted archival experts based in Memphis, Tenn. to explore the archiving and preservation challenges facing the music industry in today’s digital environment.

After first highlighting the economic impact of lost or improperly stored master recordings, the panelists proceeded to provide the audience with a practical overview of the issues surrounding the protection of master recordings and other digital audio data and metadata.

Producer/engineer Bil VornDick—who has worked with artists such as Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck and Doc Watson—served as moderator. VornDick led panelists Barry Cardinael of Iron Mountain Film & Sound Archives, Carol Drake of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, John Hubbell of the B.B. King Museum and John Spencer of BMS/Chace through a wide-ranging conversation emphasizing the potential economic and cultural losses facing the industry today, current best technical practices for data archiving, and the most efficient ways to navigate the rapidly evolving world of media storage. Also discussed during the presentation was the recently revised joint AES/P&E Wing technical white paper entitled “Recommendation for Delivery of Recorded Music Projects.”

“It’s a digital world—do you know where your musical assets are?” VornDick asked. “Today, both hardware and software become obsolete at a speed that was inconceivable just a few years ago. The fact is, without proper storage, metadata and migration, your priceless assets are likely to be relegated to the digital trash heap. This is one of the reasons many of us came together under the auspices of the P&E Wing and the AES to create ‘Recommendation for Delivery of Recorded Music Projects.’ It’s a guideline for navigating the current treacherous waters of media storage and protecting your music and, of course, your future income from that music.”

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