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“Doomsday vault” for recorded music set for construction on arctic island

The structure is buried beneath 1,000-feet of snow, can last until the next millennium, and is capable of withstanding a nuclear blast  

“Doomsday vault” for recorded music set for construction on arctic island
“Doomsday vault” for recorded music set for construction on arctic island

A "Doomsday vault" for recorded music is being constructed on an arctic island between the North Pole and Norway. 

The Global Music Vault is spearheaded by Oslo-based Elire Management Group, which claims the building should last for at least 1,000 years buried beneath 1,000-feet of snow on the Svalbard archipelago. The site can also withstand electromagnetic pulses from a nuclear explosion. 

According to Billboard, the structure uses specialist technology developed by archiving, data storage and preservation experts at Norwegian firm Piql. This involves binary coding and high-density QR codes written on durable optical film. 

"We don’t want to just protect a certain genre and certain era," said Global Music Vault managing director Luke Jenkinson of the process behind selecting the artists and work to include. Individual nations will be able to submit ideas as to the tracks and songs that should make the final cut, potentially involving a public vote

The aim is to have the vault operational by early 2022, and the initial focus will be on indigenous music styles. Pop and other genres will follow soon after. "We want the nations and regions of the world to curate what music gets deposited," Jenkinson added.

The Svalbard region is an ideal location for the Global Music Vault thanks to its cold and dry climate. This is why the group of islands are already home to both the Arctic World Vault — which stores historical and cultural artifacts and data from across the world — and the Global Seed Vault, a physical 'backup' to protect the planet's crop diversity. The area is classified as demilitarised, and so in principle cannot be involved in conflicts. 

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