Although the popularity of vinyl continues to grow every year, it’s highly unlikely that any of your friends have a collection as stellar as the late John Peel, DJ, producer, journalist and music fiend. The man had 26,000 LPs, 40,000 singles and thousands of CDs. That’s a collection that would give even the High Fidelitydudes reverent pause, and now — thanks to the wonders of the Web — you can peruse it at will.
The John Peel Archive launched just the other week on The Space, a digital arts service funded by the Arts Council and supported by the BBC. The site will run from May until October 2012, and will digitally house Peel’s massive record collection, in addition to photos, videos and content of all ilks related to the radio personality.
The Space worked with Peel’s family to determine how best to showcase this massive store of content, deciding to roll out 100 albums from each letter of the alphabet each week until October.
It you visit the website today you’ll find an interactive, drag-and-clickable representation of Peel’s studio. Clicking on highlighted items such as photos and radios will unearth corresponding content — snaps of Peel, documentary videos featuring artists related to Peel (a new video will roll out every week), and, finally, Peel’s record collection. Clicking through to that will reveal an interactive wall of records, allowing the user to choose and peruse individual discs, reading info cards composed by Peel and listening to tunes on Spotify and other music services when available.
Although the Archive is certainly a stellar resource for Peel fans and music lovers alike, the experience seems somewhat archaic — like playing with an interactive CD-ROM in the ’90s (the David Bowie Jump one was aces). Such a resource just screams out for an iPad app, much like The Guitar Collection: George Harrison. In addition (small complaint) the site would have been more streamlined if it made use of Spotify’s new Play button feature — as of right now, you have to open the application to listen to tunes outside of the website. The same goes for Soundcloud-hosted songs; you have to open Soundcloud to listen.
Still, according to The Space, this is just the start of the project (funding is still tight), so perhaps apps etc are on the horizon.