Why Oral History?

In the summer of 2013, the DSC conducted a successful Kickstarter project to start a Detroit music oral history project online. We are currently making that project happen. When we began, there was no public oral history archive dedicated solely to Detroit music.

Now there is.

Kickstarter funds are currently being used to transcribe, digitize, and conserve oral history interviews that already exist in the private hands of Detroit music journalists. The overall budget for this project was $5,000.

These tapes reinforce the richness of the sonic history we already know. These tapes also tell us musical stories we have never heard.

How are we going to make these oral histories accessible?

We will be using the Pop Up Archive to help archive audio, create transcriptions, and produce meta-data to increase accessibility to the tapes.

Ongoing Oral History Interviews

In the fall of 2014, we began a new set of short sonically-informed oral history interviews with musicians, journalists, librarians, archivists, academics, and activists. Over the course of the season we settled on a standard set of five questions to ask:

1. Briefly describe who you are and your relationship to Detroit music.

2. What was the first (Detroit) record you remember hearing – what was it, how’d you hear it, and what did you think?

3. What was the first (or best) (Detroit) live music performance you remember hearing – who was it, where was it, who’d you go with, and what did you think?

4. Motown is known the world over—describe one aspect of Detroit music history that you wished got more attention.

5. Advise us: What should the DSC be concentrating on most in the coming years?

You can hear the interviews currently via our Soundcloud.

We plan to continue these in 2015.

Detroit Music-related Oral Histories Online

Best Practices via Oral History in the Digital Age

Updated Fall 2014