Can you imagine what 25,000 LPs looks like? It makes the organizer ladies over at Hoarders shake in their boots. Add in 40,000 singles and god knows how many CDs and you’ve got one hell of a massive collection on your hands. All of this vinyl, metal, and plastic belongs to the estate of the late John Peel, the famed Radio 1 DJ who passed away at the age of 65 back in 2004 from a heart attack, and for the first time, it’s soon to be made available online.
Peel’s widow, Sheila Ravenscroft — recently discovered among towering piles of cassette tapes and empty jewel cases — is thrilled to know that Peel’s collection will soon be brought into the digital age with help from the BBC and The Arts Council.
Initially, Peel’s collection will be made part of a new experimental digital service ominously called The Space and will be available on the web, via mobile devices and as an on-demand service from Freeview HD from May to October. Eventually, though, the “idea is to digitally recreate John’s home studio and record collection, which users will be able to interact with and contribute to, while viewing Peel’s personal notes, archive performances and new filmed interviews with musicians,” notes Frank Prendergast of Eye Film and Television. Funding for the project is being provided by The Arts Council, and the BBC is chipping in its technical expertise.
Unfortunately for small labels that specialize in reissuing long-lost treasures from the English-speaking world, public access to this unparalleled collection may make their services all but obsolete. For the rest of us, this is an awesome opportunity to do some musical exploration in the type of online museum space that we’ll hopefully see much more of in the future.