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Smithsonian Music Available Online

A collaboration between Smithsonian Folkway Recordings and MSN Music will make nearly 35,000 songs from legendary performers of folk, blues, jazz and world music available online for the first time.

The catalog, which is only accessible for download through MSN Music in the United States, features artists such as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lucinda Williams and Ella Jenkins.

Rob Bennett, the senior director of MSN Entertainment at Microsoft Corp, said the catalog serves not only as a reminder of the emotion found in authentic roots music, but also as a way to get influential music to the public. “The music in this catalog has influenced countless artists, yet it’s often almost impossible to find,” he said in a press release. “We’re excited to bring these important artists and their work to a larger audience through MSN Music.”

Dan Sheehy, director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, credits the success of their Anthology of American Folk Music as a stepping-stone to the latest collaboration with MSN. “It showed us that there is a substantial audience for roots music… the problem is that people can’t always find this music,” said Sheehy in a press release. “It’s not on the radio, and many retailers don’t carry it. We’re thrilled to work with MSN Music to give people an easy way to hear music by artists they may have only read about and discover others they may have never heard of at all.”

MSN will also feature articles from recording artists and music scholars that highlight the diversity of the archive’s content. “The catalog is so huge, we have the ability to continually add features and editorial content to help music fans explore and discover the many hidden gems and unique tracks that make this addition to MSN Music so special,” Bennett said.

The Smithsonian section of the MSN Music site is divided into 10 genre pages, each containing suggested downloads, music and artist information. Some of the genres include American Folk Traditions, Blues, World Traditions and Jazz/Avant-Garde.

The collection also holds nonmusical content such as poetry, speeches and natural sounds such as “Sounds of North American Frogs.” More information can be found at

Originally Published