Save the tapes!
Music. Is. Culture. If the UK Government doesn’t save these tapes, shouldn’t we be albe to sue them (somewhere) for a form of genocide?
News today that Guy Hands has lost his case in court means that bankruptcy seems likely and Citigroup will no doubt sell off the assets to the highest bidder.
That includes, as everyone points out, the lucrative publishing arm of the business. What doesn’t get talked about so much is the archive of all the old master tapes of the back catalogue. And I’m not just talking about the Beatles.
My pick? Give it to the BBC and put it in the care of Tony Ageh with specific instructions to make sure it’s digitised, kept indefinitely and made available. Give them the publishing wing while you’re at it, to pay for the cost of digitisation, preservation, curation and stewardship.
And make sure they understand (as Ageh seems to) that ownership by the BBC means ownership by the public. And that means that the recordings themselves are fast-tracked into the public domain.
UPDATE: Just to be absolutely clear – there’s a strong possibility that if the company is stripped of assets, whoever ends up with the old reels of tape is just as likely to bin or burn those that are not potential sources of revenue. For a commercial investor, a tape in a vault represents little more than an expense. And for the vast majority of what’s in there, these are the only decent copies in existence.