Starting in 1961, the label, created in collaboration with Alain Daniélou, has recorded and issued recordings of traditional world music. Its recording activity was mainly in the 1960s and 1970s. It was composed of a number of subseries of recordings: Musical Sources (Philips 6586 001 — Philips 6586 045), Musical Atlas (EMI/Odeon), A Musical Anthology of the Orient (Bärenreiter/Musicaphon BM 30 2001 — BM 30 2032), An Anthology of African Music (Bärenreiter/Musicaphon BM 30 2301 — BM 30 2314), and An Anthology of North Indian Classical Music (Bärenreiter/Musicaphon BM 30 SL 2051 — BM 30 SL 2054; reissued by Rounder as CD 5101-5104.) It was a pioneer in documenting authentic, traditional world music.
From the 1990s, titles were reissued by Naïve/Auvidis under new subcollections, as well as some new issues and compilations. However, the partnership with Naïve/Auvidis ended in 2005. Recently some titles have been reissued by Rounder Records. Smithsonian Folkways plans to re-release the portion of the collection formerly released by Naïve/Auvidis in 2014, starting in the spring, and also to release some previously unpublished albums.
- UNESCO Collection of Representative Works, the equivalent for books
- World music
- List of record labels
- Worldcat record, Anthology of World Music: North Indian Classical Music. Anthology of world music. Cambridge, Mass: Rounder Records, 1998. Sound recording, OCLC 39481660.
- UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music of the World, accessed November 18, 2010.
- "The UNESCO collection of traditional music", Isobel Clouter, pp. 6-7,  International Music Connection: Newsletter of the World and Traditional Music Section, British Library, #20, 2001.
- UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music of the World, accessed on line November 17, 2010.
- e.g., see review of "Anthology of World Music: The Music of Laos" by Alain Danièlou, review by Christopher Adler, Asian Music 32, #2 (Spring-Summer 2001), pp. 200-203, JSTOR 834259.
- Smithsonian Folkways - UNESCO. Accessed on line Dec. 3, 2013.
- UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music of the World, archived catalog of the label, as of 2004
- UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music of the World, new planned releases as of 2004, at ICTM
- UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music of the World, current page at UNESCO
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