Massive record collection to be publicly exhibited

Visitors will be able to listen to 45,000 Top 40 records after a digital music company bought the collection at auction

The collection in place at Keith Sivyer’s home Photo: BNPS

At the beginning of the month, Keith Sivyer’s extraordinary record collection was unveiled to the world.

More than 35,000 records – 27,000 7-inch singles and 8,000 albums – were put under the hammer last Thursday. They marked a lifetime’s collection: of every new release that entered the singles charts between their inception in 1952 and Sivyer’s death, aged 75, in February.

The auction was competitive, with 10 telephone bidders calling from locations as far-flung as Brazil and Canada, but the winning bid was made by Omnifone, a digital music company that paid £73,000 for all 45,000 records and CDs – nearly 10 times the £8,000 estimate.

The company intends to re-establish the immaculately kept record collection, considered one of the most comprehensive and extensive in the world, at its offices in West London, keeping the collection in the UK after Sivyer stored it in his home in Twickenham, something his brother Gerald said he “would have wanted”.

Phil Sant, co-founder and chief engineer of Omnifone, with Keith’s brother Gerald Sivyer (Omnifone)

Omnifone intend to establish an experiential exhibition to bring the collection back to life and to a wider audience. A spokesperson said that a wing of Omnifone’s offices, which were previously home to the offices of Island Studios and Virgin Music, would be used to display the records in a way not dissimilar to how Sivyer kept them. There are also plans for a sound room, where people can go to play the records.

The company is currently in talks with the British Library and the V&A about archiving and indexing the collection, which is to be be exhibited to interested parties and the industry. Omnifone are planning to grant access to other parties, and share the records in new ways later this year.

Via Alice Vincent The Telegraph

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