A great treasure: The Internet Archive

One of the great treasures out there in the cloud is the Internet Archive.  It contains terabytes of music, movies that have fallen into the public domain, rare voice recordings, and the Wayback Machine.   It’s a great place to explore on a rainy day.  

I’ve downloaded a lot of music from the Archive and offer this tip:

  • When viewing music on the Internet Archive, look for the “VBR ZIP” link on the left side of the page. It’s a single .zip file that contains the entire live music presentation as variable bit rate MP3 files. Download, unzip, and you’ve got the entire show.

  • Some recordings are marked “stream only”, which might lead you to think they cannot be downloaded. But they can, and here’s how.

  • On the left, where it says “listen to audio”, RIGHT CLICK one of the M3U file links. The VBR link will have the best sound.

  • Save the M3U file to your computer.

A M3U file is a list of sound files that audio players read as a playlist. WGET, a common utility, can read M3U files and download the contents.     WGET is included with Mac OS/X and most Linux distributions. Windows users can download a free copy from http://gnuwin32.sourceforge.net/packages/wget.htm

  • Windows users:

  • To use WGET, open a command window:

  • create a folder into which you want to download the files (e.g., “mkdir downloads”)

  • go into the folder (e.g., “cd downloads”)

  • type “wget -i thefilename.m3u”, where thefilename.m3u is the file you just downloaded.

  • when the downloads finish, copy the mp3 files into your music folder.