Mission Statement

DRAM is a not-for-profit organization committed to contributing to the scholarly community by preserving, restoring and presenting important musical recordings and their accompanying materials, such as essays, liner notes and cover art, in a trusted, authoritative and affordable digital environment. Our principal goals are to preserve and disseminate musical recordings largely ignored by the commercial marketplace based upon their aesthetic and historical value. We strive to meet the needs of musicians, scholars and educators through ongoing dialogue and collaboration with likeminded individuals and organizations towards maximizing DRAM’s value to musical and scholarly communities.


DRAM is part of Anthology of Recorded Music, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) educational foundation that also includes New World Records, Composers Recordings (formerly Composers Recordings, Inc./CRI) and DRAM. The company was incorporated in 1975 as Recorded Anthology of American Music, Inc.

In 1975, New World Records became the first foundation dedicated to recording American music, and has since dedicated itself to recording important American composers and artists that have been neglected by the larger, for-profit recording companies.

The company was originally founded with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and a mandate to produce a 100-disc anthology of American music encompassing the broadest possible spectrum of musical genres in honor of the bicentennial. This set of recordings, together with their extensive liner notes, provided a core curriculum in American music and American studies that was then distributed free of charge to almost 7,000 educational and cultural institutions throughout the world, Beginning in 1981 New World recordings were made available to the general public.

In 2006, the assets of the former Composers Recordings, Inc. (CRI) were transferred to New World by the New York State Attorney General's office. New World is actively preserving the rich legacy of this historic label. As of 2015, the company remains the only non-profit label documenting American music. 

DRAM was initiated by Herman Krawitz, founder of New World Records, in an effort to continue and expand New World Records’ original mission and keep pace with a rapidly changing technological landscape. By delivering recordings via on-demand internet streams, DRAM enabled academic institutions to free up storage space, reduce collection costs and labor, ensure against damage or loss and increase accessibility to materials, as any number of students could now listen to the same recording simultaneously, from in the library, a dorm room, or off-campus.

With funding from the Robert Sterling Clark and Andrew W. Mellon Foundations, preparations for DRAM began in August 2000. In technological partnership with NYU, a beta version was launched across four pilot institutions in 2001.

Since that time, DRAM has continued to expand its collection and the number of participating institutions. As of August 2015, DRAM contains recordings from 30 recording labels and six archives, including the complete New World Records and Composers Recordings, Inc. catalogues. Going forward, DRAM will continue to increase the size and breadth of its collection, adding archival collections and publicly available, curated Internet radio programs to provide in depth educational introductions to its recordings.