Back when I saw the shit show the recorded music industry was to become, I decided to create a site that rewarded music that stood “the test of time.” So I founded PublicDomain4U.com. The beginnings of recorded music are now public domain! The public benefits when there is no copyright protection. You can morph a copyrighted work without asking permission, it might even be an improvement. The world might not know the works of William Shakespeare without public domain allowing publishers to sell his work without worrying about paying his royalty because the public owns his work and anyone can use it.
Shakespeare’s plays have obviously stood the test of time. What you find at PublicDomain4u.com is a growing list of links to free music, recorded when recorded music was just beginning. So the original recordings have been ripped from well-used analog recordings. I’ve tried to find the best sounding recordings, but the cylinders and 78s are prone to surface noise. It’s the content of the cylinders or 78s that I find compelling, and that’s the criteria for the selections. The songs selected are compelling for their writing or performance or for starting new schools of music.
I’ve focused on these early recordings to give context to today’s listening. Here’s an example of the kind of music found at the site.