The ARChive of Contemporary Music (ARC), the not-for-profit archive, music library and research center in lower Manhattan, has been working to collect copies of every title released since 1985 and they’ve got the largest music collection in the world with over 3 million recordings (including 118,800+ 78 rpm discs), not to mention vintage press kits, promotional times, sheet music and more. Unfortunately, skyrocketing rents have made it hard for ARC to stay afloat and, despite crowdfunding efforts, founder Bob George tells The New York Times that they’re going to have to leave their 54 White Street Home by June. More:
Although Mr. George has paid off the archive’s debts, he is still focused on finding an affordable space, preferably in New York City. But without crucial support from new donors or cultural institutions like the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, he said, finding a new location will be challenging.
As a nonprofit, Mr. George’s archive has survived because of the generosity of its board members, donations, the research services it provides and sales of excess inventory. But “the rising rent, our share of the building’s taxes and donor fatigue has taken its toll,” Mr. George said.
Mr George says moving the collection will take approximately 20,000 boxes. They’re still acquiring more, too, to the tune of 250,000 titles a year. “I still have yet to throw a record in good condition away,” Mr. George told the Times, saying they only throw out unplayable records. “It’s very difficult to judge quality in its own time. Tastes change…It’s all generational and it’s all fleeting. But it’s history.”