Global Music Vault: a bunker to protect music

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The Norwegian company Elire Management Group is currently building an apocalyptic bunker with an unprecedented objective: to preserve the musical heritage of humanity! To safeguard and protect the world’s greatest music, the company is currently setting up a vault in Svalbard, an archipelago located off the coast of Norway and a declared demilitarized zone by 42 nations. The purpose of this time-consuming project is to leave an unbroken record of masterpieces from around the world for future generations. This shelter is symbolically named the Global Music Vault.

Global Music Vault
A bunker called Global Music Vault is being built in Norway to store the world’s best music.

Global Music Vault: optimal protection

The Global Music Vault is designed to preserve songs through the centuries to share them with future generations. To this end, the venue will be managed in collaboration with the International Music Council (IMC). The different tracks will be selected meticulously and will gradually integrate the heart of the bunker. To ensure their preservation, the capsules are buried very deep at the foot of a mountain. Like the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the Global Music Vault is specially designed to survive nuclear and electromagnetic explosions. As a result, high-quality digital copies will be perfectly preserved, regardless of the external conditions. Elire Management Group predicts that the bunker will provide optimal protection for digital files for at least 1,000 years.

Global Music Vault
Both the building design and the music storage medium of the Global Music Vault guarantee a protection period of at least 1,000 years.

Microsoft has been looking at more reliable ways to store data than hard drives. One of the solutions developed by the company is currently being tested by Global Music Vault. Renamed “Project Silica”, it is similar to a high quality quartz glass hard drive. This material is very resistant to high temperatures and pressure. Information is engraved on it using a femtosecond laser (which operates for one quadrillionth of a second). This plate measuring approximately 7cm by 7cm is capable of storing 100GB of digital data. Another laser is used to read the quartz. Machine-learning algorithms then transcribe the pattern into music.

“The goal is to be able to store cloud-scale archiving and curation data in glass,” says Ant Rowstron, a distinguished engineer and deputy lab manager at Microsoft Research in Cambridge. “It’s a commercial project for Microsoft, but also beneficial to protect the future of music and other data.”

Which tracks will be added?

The Norwegian company considers music to be the heart of society and an integral part of the DNA of every culture. Therefore, it invites creators, performers, artists, leaders, businesses, organizations, associations and others from all nations to come together to preserve and celebrate music.

Man playing a musical instrument
From traditional/folk songs to current tracks, the Global Music Vault aims to store the greatest musical pieces across the world and the ages.

A global committee will work with the Elire Management Group to which tracks to stored. They will explore all musical genres created since the beginning of mankind, from traditional songs to classics by famous artists such as the Rolling Stones or Queen. “We want to preserve the music that has shaped us as human beings and shaped our nations,” said Luke Jenkinson, executive director of The Global Music Vault. “We don’t just want to protect a certain genre and a certain era. We want the nations and regions of the world to select the music that will be deposited.”

The first songs to enter the Global Music Vault are expected to be dedicated to the preservation of Aboriginal music to contemporary pop tracks.


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