Recorded Sound Collection

Virtually spanning the history of recorded sound, the Bob Pinson Recorded Sound Collection embraces nearly 200,000 sound recordings including an estimated 98 percent of all pre-World War II country recordings released commercially.

Rarities include the only remaining radio transcription disk of the first network radio broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry from 1939. This disc is one of the first fifty recordings selected by the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress as culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.

About Bob Pinson

In April 2004, the Museum's recorded sound collection was named in memory of record collector, historian, and longtime staff member, Bob Pinson. Pinson, who passed away in 2003 at age sixty-nine, is responsible for amassing the recordings that form the core of the Museum's collection.

Pursuing a lifelong passion for roots music, Texas native Pinson began collecting records in the 1940s and assembled a collection of 15,000 early country music recordings, including many rare discs that otherwise might have been absent from the historical record. In 1971, he urged the Museum to include historic recordings in its then-small collection and offered his collection for purchase.

"By making his collection available to us, Bob ensured that the Museum could take its place among the nation's major cultural institutions," said CEO Kyle Young.

In May 1973, Pinson followed his collection to Nashville and began working as the Museum's director of record acquisitions. During the next quarter century, he built the nearly 200,000-disc collection that is now part of the Museum's Frist Library and Archive.

Pinson accomplished this without an annual appropriation for record acquisitions. Instead, he generated funds by securing donations, selling duplicate copies, and arranging mutually beneficial trades with other institutions like the Library of Congress.

As a Museum staffer, Pinson shared his deep knowledge of country music history and discography with co-workers, scholars, researchers, and fans. He also contributed to many books, including Country Music U.S.A., the first scholarly overview of country music history, by Bill Malone; Charles Townsend's biography of Bob Wills; Nolan Porterfield's biography of Jimmie Rodgers; and Colin Escott's biography of Hank Williams.

He also worked on numerous historic record reissue projects, including: The Bristol Sessions, which documents the first recordings of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers; From Where I Stand: The Black Experience in Country Music; and The Complete Hank Williams.

Pinson retired as a full-time staff member in 1999 but continued his work at the Museum part time. He served as editorial researcher on the landmark volume Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942 by Tony Russell.

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Audio Lab Fees

  • Not for profit rate − 50% off published rates
  • Lab fee (per hour) includes handling fees, set-up, transfer, digitization, encode for export − $125.00
  • License & Use fee − negotiable
  • Research (per hour), discographical, song lyrics, etc. − $60.00

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum offers duplication services for research purposes only. We do not duplicate recordings for personal use for fans and/or collectors. An application and agreement for duplication of recorded sound collection materials must be completed and returned before any work is approved. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum reserves the right to refuse duplication services to anyone at any time.

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