The Archives of Traditional Music preserves and disseminates the world’s music and oral traditions through the acquisition of cultural and historical materials of enduring value to advance the educational role of Indiana University and to serve international communities of scholars, patrons, and those whose cultural heritage is represented by its holdings.

The Archives of Traditional Music fosters the educational and cultural role of Indiana University through the preservation and dissemination of the world's music and oral traditions. The Archives seeks to fulfill its mission by developing appropriate acquisitions of audio and video recordings of the music and oral traditions from the state of Indiana, the United States, and the diverse cultures of the world, and by cataloging and preserving the collections for use by educators, researchers, and interested members of the public, including the people from whom the material was collected.

The Archives' collections and library contribute to the research and teaching activities of Indiana University, especially the Departments of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Anthropology, Linguistics, the Jacobs School of Music, and the interdisciplinary area studies that are associated with them. The ATM also serves as a research, teaching, and training center for the IU Ethnomusicology Program primarily through the experiences that graduate students receive through the four assistantships and various hourly positions that are available each year.

The Archives of Traditional Music is a cultural institution that is open to the public. It has a responsibility to make its holdings and performances available to those whose cultural heritage is represented in the collections, as well as to individuals interested in developing an appreciation for the recorded artifacts.