A Norwegian company aims to create the ‘vault at the end of the world’ for music recordings. It’s a project inspired by the one made to preserve open source software, which in turn shares location and goals with the Arctic World Archive used for the world seed bank.

Humans are beings as extraordinary as they are unpredictable; capable of the best and also of the worst. Doomsday Clock 2021, the latest edition of the “doomsday clock” published by the Atomic Scientists Group, which marks the temporal distance humanity is from the end of the world and a universally recognized indicator of the potential for global catastrophe, is 100 seconds to midnight in the face of the climate situation, the ever worrisome nuclear reality, information warfare, disruptive technologies, and COVID that has arrived like a cyclone.

In anticipation that we will definitely lose our minds, there are several projects underway to preserve content created by humanity for future generations.

Goal: protect music recordings

The Oslo-based Elire Management Group plans to build another apocalyptic vault that, located in the Svalbard archipelago halfway between Norway and the North Pole, would protect music recordings for at least 1,000 years. “We want to preserve the music that has shaped us as human beings and shaped our nations,” explained Luke Jenkinson, managing director of Global Music Vault and managing partner of Elire.

The goal is to use “future-proof digital storage” to house humanity’s most important or unique musical recordings, from Beatles records to Australian indigenous music.

grabaciones musicales

The organization is in talks with several technology partners, including Piql, the Norwegian firm that also runs the Arctic World Archive, a similar vault that houses copies of artifacts such as the Vatican Library’s manuscripts, Rembrandt’s paintings, or code from all active public repositories in the world’s most important music collections.e Github to preserve the open source software.

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Piql’s storage medium “is built to withstand the kind of extreme electromagnetic pulses that could result from a nuclear explosion, which could permanently damage electronic equipment and wreak havoc on digital files.” The dry permafrost environment and cold temperatures will aid preservation and discourage visiting the area.

To select which music recordings will be stored, Elire has partnered with the International Music Council and will create a global committee. This group will work with national music groups and choose the “most treasured and beloved” music recordings from various countries. The general public will also have the opportunity to vote on which recordings will be included.

“It’s about safeguarding the future of music by having these archives from the past.” The general idea is the same as with software or seeds. If some kind of apocalyptic event occurs, not to be ruled out in the face of human stupidity, the preserved material could be used to help rebuild a global society.