In the media biz, "library music" is music that's usually owned outright by a company and then licensed to customers who use it as soundtracks for TV shows, radio programs, industrial films. Much of it is horrendously cheezy, but there are also many true gems, especially the further back you go in history. Indeed, 1960s and 1970s library music has had a resurgence amongst crate diggers and rare groove trainspotters leading to a slew of limited edition reissues on CD. The terrific LP covers in this post are from a book on the subject, titled "The Music Library: Graphic Art and Sound." BBC Radio 4 has just produced a fantastic audio documentary about the history of the genre, titled "Into the Music Library." From the program description:
Sports themes, situation comedies, game shows, cartoons, talk shows, classic children's tv, the testcards and even Farmhouse Kitchen was brought to us all with the help of library music. Themes for Terry And June, Grange Hill, Mastermind, Match Of The Day and of course that gallery tune from Vision On are all well placed library cues. But there are reels (and reels) of gorgeously crafted, equally great stuff that never made it past the elevator door! We have been surrounded by it forever, but we know so little about it.... Where does it comes from? Who actually makes it? And how do you actually set about making music for the inside of a waiting area, a lift or for a plane before it takes off?"Into the Music Library" (via @chris_carter_)
In this first ever documentary about library music we'll look into its history (starting in 1909), speak with the dynastic library owners (de Wolfe, KPM, John Gale), We find out what's it's like to make music to imaginary pictures by speaking to the library music makers (which could include Jimmy Page and Brian Eno), and even have a word with the Musicians Union who banned UK recording of library music throughout the late 60s.
We also talk to the modern day enthusiasts, the collectors (The Specials founder Jerry Dammers) and explore the contemporary influences of this extraordinary musical genre. And of course re-acquaint ourselves with some of the most familiar music we've never listened to!
Read more in Music at Boing Boing
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.