Endangered large

Digital materials created by musicians and fans as a by-product of performance or recording, shared on websites and other social media platforms.

Group: Sound and Vision

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

increased riskTrend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Endangered


Trend in 2022:


No change No Change


Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, detailed assessment within one year.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on people and sectors around the world.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a major effort to address losses in this group, possibly requiring the development of new preservation tools or techniques.


Fan sites; private or illicit recordings of concerts; informal music sharing between networks such as MySpace and Facebook

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Dependence on social media provider; lack of offline equivalent; infringing intellectual property right; unstable or small community of interest; encryption

Vulnerable in the Presence of Good Practice

Offline equivalent; intellectual property rights conducive to preservation; partnership with collecting institution; availability to web archiving.

2021 Jury Review

In 2019, this entry was created as a subset of a previous 2017 entry, ‘Digital Music Production and Sharing,’ which was split to draw attention to the different challenges faced by the different forms. This entry overlaps with other entries relating to social media as well as those relating to community-generated content but is a separate entry to emphasize the context in which music is shared and enjoyed. This context could be lost if our attention were on products controlled by studios or artists.
The 2021 Jury discussed content increasingly being shared across multiple platforms, which is both good and bad for risk. A multi-platform nature provides an element of protection against total loss, but the role and type of interaction with the content on each platform are also important and expanding with limited attempts at preservation. For these reasons, the 2021 trend moved towards greater risk with the need for selective approaches based on the increasing volume of material.

Additional Comments

The ephemera are increasingly stored on websites that themselves are fragile and are removed, and nothing held on these services can be relied on in archival timeframes.

Web archiving and social media archiving have matured, so a representative sample is probably readily available for particular countries which are more mature in their digital preservation activities as opposed to other countries which are not.

Case Studies or Examples:

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