Q: Does the Library hold commercial music recordings?
No, the National Library doesn't hold commercial recordings. There are a few exceptions, such as a small number of CDs, DVDs and videotapes held in kits, as well as some recordings in the Banks Collection. Australian recorded music is held at the National Film and Sound Archive.
If you are searching for British music or audio recordings, check the British Library Sound Archive.
Q: Can I perform music from the Library's collection?
The Australasian Performing Right Association - Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (APRA AMCOS) collects and distributes licence fees for the public performance and communication of members' musical works. APRA AMCOS will be able to advise who holds the performance rights for Australian works, if known.
If you are interested in performing music which is published in the United States of America, check the Music Publishers Association of the United States - Copyright Resource Centre.
Q: How do I determine if the music is in copyright?
In general, copyright expires after 70 years from the death date of the creator. However, music copyright can be more complex than it is for other materials, as there are often multiple contributors or rights holders. These could include the composer, arranger, lyricist, editor and publisher.
Some composers have passed on the rights to their works to descendants or estates that actively republish those works. This is true for the works of Horace Keats, Percy Grainger, Alfred Hill and Jack O'Hagan, which remain in copyright.
The most up-to-date information about Australian copyright law and music is found at the Australian Copyright Council. They have a series of fact sheets covering copyright law in Australia, such as Music & Copyright.
Organisations which can help include:
- Australian Music Centre (AMC)
AMC represents many current Australian composers. Their website is often a useful source of information on current Australian compsers and their works, including details of when works were first performed and who commissioned them.
- Australasian Music Publishers Association Limited (AMPAL)
AMPAL's website includes information and contact details for a range of music publishers in Australia.
- Wirripang: Home of Australian Composers.
Wirripang represents and publishes many current Australian composers. Their website contains useful biographical information.
Q: I want to know about this musician/composer/conductor?
For Australian musicians, try the Australian Music Centre.
For living, British musicians, try The Ivors Academy (The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors).
Information about musicians is also available via the database Oxford Music Online. You can access this database by visiting the National Library's eResources portal, signing in with your library card and searching for "Oxford Music Online" under the Browse eResources tab.
Q: What is the history of Advance Australia Fair?
You can find information and history about the anthem on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.
Q: Where can I get my vinyl record valued?
You could try contacting either a record collector or auctioneer, who are experts in this field. One way to do this is to search the Yellow pages in your area.
If you wish to offer your record for sale, you may like to contact the National Film and Sound Archive. However, the National Film and Sound Archive does not offer a valuation service.
Links to record collectors and auctioneers in Australia and overseas can be found on the Books & Collectables website.
There are also print items available which can help you to price your record. To locate library holdings of these search Trove. Try the search terms “sound recordings prices” and/or “sound recordings collectors and collecting”.