Culture

Arctic doomsday music vault will ensure our bangers survive the End Times

Like the Arctic World Archive and the Global Seed Vault, the Global Music Vault aims to protect the best humanity has to offer from our worst tendencies.

The entrance to the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, 08 April 2015. During permafrost, the germs of more than four million plants such as rice, corn, beans, and potatoes are collected, frozen, and secured for the future in three mountain caves. Photo: Jens Büttner | usage worldwide   (Photo by Jens Büttner/picture alliance via Getty Images)
picture alliance/picture alliance/Getty Images

Millennia from now, aliens could one day arrive to Earth to find a desolate, barren planet stripped of all life. It wouldn’t take long for them to determine that a single species was responsible for mass extinction, but thankfully, a new project could at least leave behind proof that humanity wasn’t entirely awful... we actually once even made some badass bangers like “WAP.”

Norway’s Elire Management Group is gearing up to launch the Global Music Vault, a new venture aiming to store future-proof recordings of a wide array of compositions 1000 feet beneath a mountain near the Arctic Circle, just in case humanity finally makes good on its apparently longstanding death wish. “We want to preserve the music that has shaped us as human beings and shaped our nations,” says Luke Jenkinson, Global Music Vault’s managing director, told Billboard in a lengthy profile.

To do this, Jenkinson and his associates are in talks with potential partners like Piql, the aptly-named Norwegian company responsible for preserving works of art within the similar Arctic World Archive project. Piql claims its PiqlFilm “migration-free storage medium” is capable of lasting over a millennium, as well as withstanding electromagnetic pulse blasts and/or nuclear warfare thanks to binary coding alongside high-density QR codes printed onto specialized optical film. So, that’ll be nice to think about right before we’re reduced to irradiated ash.

“That last track was fire...”Shutterstock

Decisions, decisions — To decide what music makes the cut for our upcoming extinction-level event, Jenkinson and Elire are first collaborating with the International Music Council in Paris to work with music businesses to incorporate nations’ “most precious and loved” tunes, according to the Swedish composer and IMC president, Alfons Karaduba. Initially, the Global Music Vault will work to store Indigenous music, but there are also reportedly plans to eventually utilize national submissions and subsequent polling, although the specifics are still vague on that front.

It doesn’t need to be the worst-case scenario — Projects like the Global Music Vault can be extremely helpful and necessary well before the last one of us turns out the lights on our way out the metaphorical door. As Billboard notes, “In 2008, a fire at a Universal Studios backlot destroyed a significant number of tapes archived by Universal Music Group, including some masters,” while also citing Myspace’s 2019 server migration debacle that ended up permanently deleting an estimated 50 million uploaded audio tracks.