If you are an old school music fan, you would know that vinyl has become incredibly expensive. However, you can listen to vinyl for free at amazing listening stations all over the world. The records in these sound archives range from oratorial opera vocal tubes made in 1901 to extensive catalogues of original Motown pressings and field recordings of Polynesian tribes made in the 1950s.
Bookmark this list of record libraries around the world for your bucket list. The stunning architecture and locations are a bonus.
The Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound of The New York Public Library
With over 700,000 records, and 100,000 printed works, one of the most comprehensive collections of recorded sound in the world is the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound at The New York Public Library. The exceptional collections of the Archives include almost every genre of recorded sound, including Mozart, Maria Callas, Motown, orchestral compositions, presidential addresses, radio dramas, and television specials. You can listen to the collection in personal listening booths with your own audio technician, and access record jackets and liner notes while you listen.
Address: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023, United States
Music Library + Understage, Seoul, South Korea
This multi-storey building (built like a glass box) has a vinyl collection from the ’50s to present. The audio library is part of Hyundai’s “library project” across South Korea. The space features more than 10,000 vinyls, 3,000 books and a performance venue. The library is not accessible to the public only on select days. You have to make a request to the in-house DJ or use one of the record players on site. Look out for their rare vinyl collection which includes The Beatles’ 1966 controversial cover of Yesterday and Today, and one of the nine existing albums of the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen. You can also browse thousands of music related books. Fans of Rolling Stone mag will love looking at their comprehensive stock of issues dating back to 1967, when it first came out.
Address: 246 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Music Section, Stuttgart City Library, Stuttgart, Germany
This music collection wing occupies an entire floor of the newly-renovated ziggurat in Milan Square. The wing features a Music for Children section and the Studiolo, a comprehensive audio library of auditory life in Stuttgart and the surrounding area. You can also construct your own masterpiece at personal recording stations using computer software and keyboards.
Address: Music Section, 1st Floor, Stuttgart City Library, Stadtbibliothek at the Mailänder Platz
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