Opening the Vault on YouTube: 13,000 More Performance Clips
It’s something close to a music collector’s idea of heaven. Music Vault, a company that was started in April as a division of Wolfgang’s Vault, an online memorabilia shop, opened its expansive YouTube page on Tuesday. The site offers some 13,000 performance clips, which the company estimates to be roughly 2,000 hours of music.
It is organized to make it easy to sample the trove almost at random (using Music Vault’s own compilations – playlists like Best Live Music Performances, Legendary Drummers and Leading Ladies of Rock) or more singlemindedly (using the featured channels devoted to, for example, the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers Band, Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd). Both individual clips and full concerts are included.
Much of the music comes from archives that Wolfgang’s Vault has purchased over years, including the holdings of Bill Graham Presents (which include not only concerts from Graham’s own Fillmore East, Fillmore West and Winterland auditoriums, but also shows Graham produced around the country); King Biscuit Flower Hour; and the Newport Jazz and Woodstock festivals.
Given those sources, it should not be surprising that much of the material is classic rock, with clips from the Who at Tanglewood in 1970, a black-and-white clip ofElvis Costello at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, N.J., and Jefferson Airplane, filmed at Wally Heider Studios in 1970 prominently featured.
But you can also find jazz offerings, like Miles Davis at Tanglewood in 1970. There are also quite a few R&B classics, including a full James Brown concert from the Ritz in 1986 (with, alas, a cheesy robot intro that was part of the show), and quite a few blues shows, including a 1991 Newport Jazz Festival show by John Lee Hooker. A “New Music Discovery” playlist, assembled by Daytrotter and Paste magazine, offers recent concert clips by Rubblebucket, Ra Ra Rio, Dr. Dog and other indie performers.
All this is apparently just the start: the company said it would regularly update its playlists and features, and Bill Antonucci, the content editor at Music Vault, toldRolling Stone that Music Vault planned to expand its YouTube offerings. Meanwhile, there are a few notable gaps in the collection, but whoever programmed it has a sense of humor: there are, for example, no Beatles performances, but it you put Beatles in the search engine, you get a list of performances by Cheap Trick and the Monkees.