The highly interesting and relevant archive of EMI Canada was recently donated by Universal Music Canada (UMC) to the University of Calgary’s Libraries and Cultural Resources. The University has also teamed up with Canada’s National Music Centre (NMC), that was playing a crucial role in transferring the EMI Canada archive to Calgary by bringing Universal Music Canada in contact with the University of Calgary.
The university announced on March 31, 2016, that Universal had donated the EMI Canada Music Archive to its Libraries & Cultural Resources. The collection offers music lovers, students, and researchers from across the globe access to more than five decades of contemporary music that spans a wide range of styles.
The EMI Canada Archive is a unique collection documenting 63 years of Canada’s music industry in in the period 1949-2012. The collection includes more than 5 thousand boxes that contain over 20,000 audio recordings, almost 19,000 video recordings, and over 2 million biographies, photographs, and other documents. Universal Canada acquired the Canadian EMI archive when EMI Music Canada was bought by Universal Music Group in 2012.
The EMI Archive includes over forty different recording formats, from vinyl, cassette tapes, CD’s, DVD’s, 2-inch, 1-inch, half-inch, and quarter‐inch reel‐to‐reel tapes, to film, U‐matic tapes, DATs, VHS, and Betacam video recordings. The EMI archive contains original master recordings, demo tapes, publicity photos, art for album covers, artistic music video outlines, awards, marketing plans, original song lyrics and drafts, as well as all sorts of correspondence between producers, artists, recording engineers and EMI executives.
The archive of EMI Canada contains original audio‐visual recordings of almost 2,600 artists, both from Canada and from across the world. The archive includes more than 12,500 original master recordings and taped audio sessions that total more than 4,000 hours. There also are more than 3,000 original 2‐inch studio multi‐track reels with around 700 recorded audio hours, some 5,000 CD’s, and 600,000 ft. (some 180,000 meters) of film.
Music archives are always measured in meters, and if you would line up the boxes that contain EMI Canada’s Archive, you would reach 1.7 kilometers, the equivalent of a little over one mile, or 5,600 feet. Because the EMI Archive is so enormous, the impressive collection will be transferred to the University of Calgary in multiple shipments which will take a few years.
Most of the archive is stored in a (fortunately) climate‐controlled Toronto facility. The EMI Music Canada Archive contains the largest collection of the University of Calgary’s archives, which also includes highly interesting collections such as the Canadian Architectural Archives, and the John P. L. Roberts Music Collection. This fact was noticed by many websites, including supporting students education and helping them to navigate the college labyrinth.