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Fabian Mayer

University of Calgary gifted massive music archive

By Fabian Mayer, March 31 2016 —


An Anne Murray recording on display

Arts, science and rock and roll — the University of Calgary is set to get a little more musical after receiving a set of archives from Universal Music Canada in partnership with the National Music Centre.

The collection contains around 5,500 boxes of materials from EMI Music Canada. The materials date from the ’40s until 2012, and will be housed in the Taylor Family Digital Library.

EMI signed Canadian artists like Tom Cochrane, Anne Murray and Glass Tiger, and served as the Canadian distributor for international artists like the Beatles and Pink Floyd. The company was bought by Universal Music Canada in 2012.

University president Elizabeth Cannon made the announcement early Thursday afternoon.

“It’s the largest archive the U of C has ever received and the quality and breadth of the materials really reflects the Canadian music industry,” Cannon said.

Canadian music legend Tom Cochrane, Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell and former president of EMI Music Canada Deane Cameron spoke at the event.


Canadian music legend Tom Cochrane

Cochrane thanked Cameron for his dedication to the Canadian music industry.  

“The era that we will never see again had to be protected so that this generation and future generations can study it,” Cochrane said.

The collection consists of materials ranging from demo tapes of artists like the Barenaked Ladies to promotional materials, contracts and recordings in various formats.

The university will partner with the National Music Centre to display the items. The centre, which is slated to open this summer in the East Village, will also house the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Annie Murray is the head of archives and special collections at the TFDL. She is excited about the new additions.

“It’s pretty amazing to see all the music videos from the ‘80s, growing up and watching them on TV,” Murray said. “To see the history of recorded sound in all these different formats [is great]”

According to Murray, it will take the library roughly five years to catalogue the entire collection.

“As we catalogue it and make it available [students] can just come to special collections on the fifth floor to look at it. Basically, it’s a rock and roll archive.”                                                                                                          

Around 800 boxes have been catalogued so far. Their contents can be viewed at ucalgary.ca/emi




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