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Back now with DAY TO DAY. Anthology Recordings is dedicated to unearthing hard-to-find and somewhat esoteric pop music from earlier eras and then they re-release it in digital form. It's the world's first ever all digital reissue label as its founder - a guy named Keith Abrahamson. Our music contributor Derek Rath has this look at Anthology. He begins with La Comita(ph) - that's a track from a Peruvian band from the 1970s called "Traffic Sound."

(Soundbite of music)

DEREK RATH: Old vinyl records are like moose heads, hat pins, and things that snow when you turn them upside-down. They are collectible. But as company founder Keith Abrahamson explains it, Anthology Recordings is not in the business of catering to vinyl connoisseurs. It's about putting good music back into circulation on the Internet. But isn't this sacrilege? Isn't this music intended to be heard on vinyl?

KEITH ABRAHAMSON (Founder, Anthology Recordings): It still is. What we're really doing is providing a place for people to have listening copies of this stuff. I think the ideal format to have it on is still on LP.

RATH: Anthology's source material comes from vinyl, CD, and also tape. Remember tape?

ABRAHAMSON: I think the real criteria is that it's really good. I mean, I think no matter what style it kind of falls into, if it's not interesting and engaging in some way, then it's not worth it.

RATH: Space Art, The Stomach Mouths, Asterisk, VampiSoul(ph), Crushed Butler - these are the names of some of the defunct bands and obscure labels that are the backbone of Anthology Recordings' success. This is the Baby Grandmothers.

(Soundbite of music)

RATH: The enterprise started with Keith's own tastes in taste in psychedelic rock, but has since expanded to include reggae, folk rock, punk, jazz, and soul.

(Soundbite of music)

ABRAHAMSON: My tastes lie kind of primarily in the psychedelic and hard rock realms. We're definitely looking to expand into the jazz territory, do a lot more singer-songwriter stuff. Hip hop would be amazing, and that's been something that's been on my radar for a long time.

RATH: Keith and his small band of cohorts are keeping their day jobs. The whole thing is still a labor of love. Even the biggest artists on the roster are more cult than mainstream. Like Skip Spence.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. SKIP SPENCE (Musician): (Singing) All my life I really love you.

ABRAHAMSON: You know, he was the original drummer for the Jefferson Airplane, went on to Moby Grape, and his own solo stuff, and it's a sad story. He was an acid casualty.

RATH: One of the releases is an album from the aptly named group, Anonymous.

(Soundbite of music)

RATH: They never had a record deal at all. Just a few hundred private pressings to sell at gigs.

ABRAHAMSON: The name of the record is "Inside the Shadow," a private pressing record from 1977. And the gentleman's name who wrote the record is Ron Matelic.

(Soundbite of music)

RATH: Ron Matelic found out what it's like to find your music plucked from oblivion and re-released on the Internet 30 after it was recorded.

Mr. RON MATELIC (Musician): It's pretty exciting. Over the last few months I've been going back through my song catalog and trying to update some songs, you know, maybe add some lyrics, change some lyrics, so it's sort of given me a spark.

RATH: Keith Abrahamson may not be making a complete living from Anthology Recordings, but there are enough customers for him to do the honorable thing: pay artists royalties.

ABRAHMSON: You know, a lot of these guys that probably never saw a penny in their life from this stuff, I'm able to write them a check, and that's one of the things that makes me the most happy about this project.

(Soundbite of music)

RATH: Anthology Recordings may never overthrow the record industry, but music corporations, take note. Success can't always be measured on the stock exchange. Think instead, as Keith does, about the love exchange. Oh, that's the name of this band.

(Soundbite of song)

RATH: You know, this is pretty groovy.

(Soundbite of music)

RATH: For NPR News, I'm Derek Rath.

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