The Gadget Guy reports that 200,000 pre-WWII recordings have been donated by Universal Music to the US Library of Congress, which will convert them to a digital format and make them available for free online. I reckon this is a valuable service. Old content should be recovered and copied to digital formats while the reading technology remains available.
This would be even more important with magnetic media than mechanical recordings (ie, where a physical representation of the sound vibration is stored). The latter are always amendable to recovery even with custom equipment. But old tapes — especially ones from the early days when little was standardised — are harder to read, especially without original equipment.