Listen to Austin 360 Radio

KUT moves music collection to Fine Arts Library

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Editor’s note: This article was originally published December 20, 2013

Radio stations have gone digital, too, of course, and when KUT and KUTX moved into their shiny new Public Media Studios on the University of Texas campus, they faced a storage crunch.

Here is the full news release on the acquisition

KUT Acquisition Boosts Fine Arts Music Collection

Thousands of vintage and rare vinyl records and tens of thousands of compact discs have found a new home at the Fine Arts Library at The University of Texas at Austin as part of the largest single infusion of resources in the library’s history.

Students, faculty, researchers and other patrons will soon have access to a music collection significantly larger than previously available thanks to the acquisition of physical collections from KUT Public Media.

The collection is estimated at more than 60,000 music CDs and over 4000 vinyl LPs representing over 50 years of accumulation by the station. Both categories include a mix of singles (including promotional and demonstration copies), albums and multi-disk collections. A portion of the vinyl LPs are believed to be valuable collector’s items, which include rare or signed works with notes from the artist.

“Given the commercial imperative of the music business, it’s unlikely that most of these recordings are going to be reissued in any form, so it is doubly important that we hold onto this collection for posterity,” explains music librarian David Hunter. “It’s also valuable documentation as a snapshot of an entire era in the history of a cherished cultural institution.”

When KUTX 98.9, KUT’s music service, moved into the KUT Public Media Studios, there was not enough space in the building to accommodate such a large physical collection. In addition, the music staff had spent more than a year digitizing the station’s music library for easier access. It was time to offload this long-accumulated physical collection.

“The collection represents the eclectic nature of KUT – and now KUTX – with discs ranging from the famous – Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck, The Band, Townes Van Zandt – to the obscure – The Soviet Army Chorus and Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band,” said Hawk Mendenhall, associate general manager and director of broadcast and content at KUT Public Media.

Hunter estimates that processing the collection will take 2-4 years, dependent upon available resources.

The addition of the KUT materials expands the Fine Arts Library’s Historical Music Recordings Collection (HMRC), one of the largest archives of audio recordings in the nation, increasing its volume of approximately 200,000 items in all formats by significantly over 25%.

“This truly is the archive of the Austin’s music, born, bred and adopted,” says the Fine Arts Library’s head librarian Laura Schwartz. “And we will preserve it for all of Austin to fully access. How cool is that?”