June 20, 2009
Sigma Sound Studios was Philadelphia's premiere recording studio in the 1960's and today Sigma Sound is considered one of the most influential and prolific recording studios of that time. After Sigma closed in 2003, their collection of over 6,000 master recordings by artists such as Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Sister Sledge, David Bowie, Grover Washington Jr., and Patti LaBelle, sat in a vault until the building's new owner, Isadore Dion, donated them to Drexel's Music Industry Program. This historic collection of pop, R&B and dance recordings constitutes "The Sound of Philly,' reflecting three decades of popular music. The collection, preserved in the Drexel University Audio Archive, is one of the most comprehensive ever archived by a university and also includes commercials, radio shows and political ads.
Currently, the archive is using state-of-the-art equipment to preserve originals, to migrate the content to a digital format for research, and to archive this data for long-term storage. In time, the archive will offer students the opportunity to study production techniques and musical arrangements. The goal is to make the collection's catalog available to the public. Music Industry Professor Toby Seay is heading up this project.