The Music Library

Expanded Edition

Published by Fuel. 260mm x 260mm 248 pages. 625 Sleeves. 230 labels. Sexy!

Hardback, numbered limited edition with slipcase, and ten inch LP, plus printed fitted mailer. Only available via Fuel. Even more sexy!

Standard hardback edition – available via Fuel and all good book retailers.

It has been over a decade since the publication of The Music Library, the original and, dare I say, groundbreaking look at the art, sound and brief history of library music. Not only was that book extraordinarily influential in terms of graphic impact, but it also brought to light obscure LPs, labels, artists and music that had, until publication, always remained very much under the normal record collecting radar.

That radar is now far more expansive because of the internet; the connected world of the geeky, enthusiastic library music collector grows by the second with facts, images, tracks, trophies, sleeves and even complete catalogues posted up, Instagrammed, YouTubed, you name it. As a result, this last decade has seen a big leap in library music knowledge with odd facts, lost LPs and newly discovered labels slowly rising out of obscurity and into this most peculiar and specialized of collector’s markets.

Of course with all this new and multi-dimensional information comes more interest. This in turn means there are even fewer of the scarce original library LPs to go around and so the prices for many keeps increasing. I try and keep an eye on the overall library market and have watched it remain steady, slowly build and spike too, but when someone paid over £1500 for a library LP on the Panda label (see popsike!) in early 2015 I realized it was the right time to revisit the old book and see where we could improve and update things.

Also, I’d started getting emails from new enthusiasts asking for copies of the first book (apparently some refer to now as “The Bible”) which was long out of print and had started to become as expensive as some of the LPs it featured. So a new edition seemed to make perfect sense, and thankfully the daring Damon and Stephen at Fuel Publishing agreed.

The initial idea was a simple update, but as soon as I got stuck in I got sucked in, and spent months immersed in a web of library friends, sounds and a glut of confusing information. Unexpectedly this time, I also found myself fascinated by later 1970s and early 1980s recordings. For many collectors this is an area to be aesthetically and sonically avoided, but I’ve found some inspiring and relevant work from distinctive labels of the period and many are featured in this new edition. Sadly we didn’t have space to include every single LP or library we’ve found, explored and enjoyed, so we put a age at the back with a whole list of others. And of course there are others not in the book, the whole area is just too big and bonkers.

And with such a large new book we found it a little against our economic plan to issue it with a CD this time. But if you google LPs or artists featured in the book, audio in one way or another will magically appear.

BUT we have made a special very limited edition with a slipcase and ten inch. The ten inch includes killer tunes from Selected Sound and KPM libraries, including classic such as Brian Bennett’s “Image” and “Survivor” by Klaus Weiss. Altogether this is a wondrous book, if you are into library music, graphics or just like looking at brilliantly mad things.