Music and sound-recording archives face a host of operational, preservation, and funding-related challenges. While subject to these practical issues, ethnomusicology archives and collections also confront a threat that fundamentally undermines their very existence: their colonial legacy. In light of this history, the author critiques the role of archives (ethnomusicology archives in particular) by drawing on archival and ethnomusicological literature, and by describing his own experiences as an archivist. The author goes on to describe how he has attempted to ameliorate these challenges and threats by way of partnering with local communities in the development of regionally based music collections at UCLA and the University of Washington. Through "communal archiving" he argues that archivists and community members work together to diminish the impact of archives' colonial roots while building collections that are more relevant to both its traditional and emerging base of users.