- What is RareTunes?
- How do I listen to music in RareTunes?
- How do I download tracks from RareTunes, get them on my iPod, MP3 player, PC etc?
- Can I buy tracks from RareTunes?
- Why was RareTunes developed?
- Who is behind Ratetunes?
- I have some interesting material in my own collection which I would like to preserve and share. Would it be possible to add it to RareTunes?
- My organisation would like to establish and maintain a similar facility for preserving and sharing its own material. Can you help?
- Does RareTunes involve social networking? Can I become a friend? Can I use RareTunes to promote my music?
- Can I leave comments and opinions on each track?
- Is the material in the archive safe?
- How does RareTunes work?
- What software does RareTunes use?
- What is the situation regarding copyright?
- Is RareTunes associated with any academic institution, library or archive?
- Does Rateunes receive any public funding or subsidy?
- Is RareTunes associated with any commercial organisation or company?
- What information does the database hold?
- Can I provide links to RareTunes, and individual tracks, from my own web site?
- Can I use tracks from RareTunes in my CD, video, film, TV, radio, animation or multimedia project?
- How can I cite material in RareTunes in my dissertation, essay or published writing?
- What should I do if I am unhappy about material in RareTunes?
- Can you answer specific questions on Scottish music?
- Is RareTunes concerned only with sound?
- What are your future plans for RareTunes?
What is RareTunes?
Ratetunes is an online archive of recordings of mainly Scottish traditional and popular music and sound from private collections where the owners wish to preserve their material in a digital format while sharing it over the internet. The archive can also hold and give access to documents in other formats including images, video and written documents.
How do I listen to music in RareTunes, and what format do you have?
Simply click the ‘play’ button on the player underneath each track.
Most of our tracks are archived on The Internet Archive and clicking their logo on the right of the player will take you to the archive page there, where you can play or download the file in various formats.
How do I download tracks from RareTunes, get them on my iPod, MP3 player, PC etc?
Can I buy tracks from RareTunes?
No. The tracks are offered at no cost for personal, educational or non-commercial use. Please contact us if you wish to use any material in a commercial or broadcast context.
Why was RareTunes developed?
The RareTunes archive was created by players and scholars of Scottish music seeking a means of archiving, organising and sharing recordings in their private collections. The project was motivated by a belief that there was much recorded music that was unrecognised and unheard despite being a major part of Scotland’s culture. Such material has a strong educational value, can provide much interest and enjoyment to all listeners and has a world-wide audience. At that time (c. 2005) there were “official” initiatives such as HOTBED at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Tobair an Dualchais had not yet emerged and so the developers decided to demonstrate the value publicly accessible and easily curated on-line sound archive.
Who was behind Raretunes?
RareTunes was developed by two highly experienced Scottish musicians Derek Hoy and Stuart Eydmann. The project draws on their distinguished backgrounds in web-based informatics, cultural heritage, ethnomusicology, field recording, historical research and teaching in higher education. Sadly, Derek passed away in 2012. A simpler, more easily sustainable system with a similar user experience was introduced in 2016.
I have some interesting and relevant material in my own collection which I would like to preserve and share. Would it be possible to add it to RareTunes?
Yes. Please contact us. A number of people have contacted RareTunes with recordings which were subsequently digitised and added to the site. In some cases this represented truly rare material that complemented holdings in national collections.
My organisation would like to establish and maintain a similar facility for preserving and sharing its own material. Can you help?
Yes. We would be pleased to discuss how RareTunes might be able to assist. RareTunes has been developed in a manner which is easy to maintain, portable and scalable. It might be adaptable to suit your needs.
Does RareTunes involve social networking? Can I become a friend? Can I use RareTunes to promote my music?
RareTunes is primarily an archive and therefore you may wish to consider alternative sites. Many musicians use Facebook, SoundCloud or even YouTube for these purposes. RareTunes does have a Twitter presence: @raretunes.
Can I leave comments and opinions on each track?
While we don’t include comments on the pages here, we do regularly hear from people using RareTunes, and we’d be delighted if you were to share any information you might have on any track or performer. Where appropriate we’ll add this information to the database and web pages.
How is the audio material curated?
All audio files are stored in a number of formats and locations. The first generation digital file (WAV) is held, and backed up, by the RareTunes team. A copy of the WAV file is held on the Internet Archive servers which are also mirrored. The Internet Archive store also holds copies of the files generated from the WAV in MP3, Ogg Vorbis and other formats.
Where individuals have offered their private material to RareTunes, digital copies are provided to the owners. The original source material (78 rpm disks, vinyl, reel to reel tapes etc…) remains also with the owners. Where these present long-term conservation challenges, it is suggested that the material is offered to appropriate national or regional archives by arrangement.
How does RareTunes work?
- Recordings are prepared by RareTunes as high quality digital WAV files.
- The media file and metadata are deposited on the Internet Archive in San Francisco, which generates and holds the audio in a variety of formats. The material is curated there by RareTunes.
- The digital media held by the Internet Archive is mirrored at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt.
- From RareTunes the files in the Internet Archive are accessed using an embedded music player.
- The original security copies of the digitised source material are retained by RareTunes.
RareTunes can also be used to access files hosted in other locations, where licences permit, such as public domain content. These files are accessed from their original locations.
What software does RareTunes use?
The original RareTunes.org site was built by the late Derek Hoy using a number of excellent (mostly) open source products (including Django – the Python-based web framework ‘for perfectionists with deadlines’, various third party Django addons, boto for working with Amazon Web Services, BeautifulSoup for working with Internet Archive, Lighttpd web server and MySQL database server. Its own library was written to interface with the Internet Archive (archive.org) as it had no published API. Code was in Python. The original code remains available to interested parties as open source – contact us.
On Derek’s passing it was decided that a simpler system would be easier to maintain and would be more sustainable in the long term. The current system uses Worpress to provide the public interface and database. The design theme is Motif. The RareTunes system can be easily replicated by others for similar purposes – please ask if this interests you.
What is the situation regarding copyright?
We only include audio material where we are confident that there are no copyright infringements. The remastered digital recordings are all either in the public domain or are subject to a Creative Commons Licence which governs their use.
Is RareTunes associated with any academic institution, library or archive?
No. RareTunes is a privately developed and independently maintained facility. However, RareTunes does work with the Internet Archive initiative and would wish to complement the work of national, regional and academic and other archives, which are similarly committed to spreading knowledge of, and access to Scottish music. Links are provided to other complementary online archives.
Does RareTunes receive any public funding or subsidy?
No. The archive has been developed by voluntary effort and is maintained independently.
Is RareTunes associated with any commercial organisation or company?
No. RareTunes does not endorse or seek to promote the sale of any commercial products.
What information does the database hold?
The RareTunes database is being developed developed to meet evolving quality standards for audio archives and can accommodate extensive data relating to each track. The public pages on the RareTunes web site give only a selection of what may be held in the database.
Can I provide links to RareTunes, and individual tracks, from my own web site?
Yes. We encourage this and suggest that you employ the referencing and citation methods described below. However, you should not present RareTunes content as your own, charge for the links to our material or use any tracks in commercial site without permission. RareTunes should always be acknowledged as the source.
Can I use tracks from RareTunes in my CD, video, film, TV, radio, animation or multimedia project?
Yes, but only if it is a non-commercial project. If your work is to be broadcast, offered for sale or otherwise part of a commercial initiative, for most tracks, you will require to obtain the permission of the owners who may apply terms and conditions on agreed arrangements for their use. Similarly, you should not rebuild or remix a recording without the owner’s permission. Where this is granted an appropriate acknowledgement is expected. RareTunes material has already been used by agreement for broadcast, computer games and exhibition purposes.
How can I cite material in RareTunes in my dissertation, essay or published writing?
We suggest that you employ the following example:
Prince, Alexander “Woodland Flowers”. http://raretunes.org Accessed on 1 May 2008
What should I do if I am unhappy about material in RareTunes?
In such a case, for whatever reason, please get in touch in the first instance to discuss the matter and how it might be resolved.
Can you answer specific questions on Scottish music?
As a voluntary organisation we do not offer to undertake research or answer general questions on Scottish music.
Is RareTunes concerned only with sound?
No. In time we will be adding other related media including articles, sheet music, photographs and video.
What are your future plans for RareTunes?
The RareTunes team is patiently working to digitise, archive and share their extensive collection of material and this work will take years to complete. Other material is continually coming forward for inclusion too.
Since its inception RareTunes has been highly popular among the traditional music community and has attracted praise from the families of a number of featured musicians who previously had no access to such sounds. The site is being developed to feature in depth those individuals, bands and events where there are comprehensive holdings aa albums and multimedia essays. It is also planned to offer material interpreted by place of creation or association.
As a private archive there are no timescales or deadlines dictated by funding conditions and therefore the collection will grow slowly. Individuals or organisations who wish to have their material included can be easily trained to prepare and upload their tracks and it is likely that any major expansion will be undertaken in this way. RareTunes is in discussions with a number of organisations seeking to put their own audio archives on line.