Global Music Vault partners with Microsoft for project 'Silica'

ELIRE GMV msoft silica product shoot
The Project Silica Proof of Concept 

Did you know that today's solution for storing music data is facing a multitude of challenges?

To date, tape technology has been the most commonly used storage medium, with little innovation over the years resulting in a huge fragmentation and fragility of storage facilities all around the world. As a founding partner of the Global Music Vault, the International Music Council (IMC) welcomes the partnership struck up by Elire Group - the inititator of the Vault - and Microsoft for the project 'Silica' which uses an innovative technology to make sure that music stored in the Vault will be preserved for centuries.

The research team at Microsoft in Cambridge is working on paradigm-breaking solutions in ultrafast laser optics and machine learning, to provide the world with phenomenal storage capability using fused silica glass. Project Silica is part of the broader Optics for the Cloud project, which explores the future of cloud infrastructure at the intersection of optics and computer science. With glass being a very inert material, the silica glass platter is fully resilient to electromagnetic pulses (EMP), and to the most challenging environmental conditions. It can be baked, boiled, scoured, flooded, subjected to EMP and in other ways attempted to be tampered with, without degradation of the data written in the glass. The Proof of Concept (PoC) platter used in the global Music Vault, is the size of a glass coaster, with 100GB of data in any digital format, encrypted or unencrypted. A laser encodes data in glass by creating layers of three-dimensional nanoscale gratings and deformations. Machine learning algorithms read the data back by decoding images and patterns that are created as polarised light shines through the glass.

Alfons Karabuda International Music Council Luke Jenkinson Global Music Vault
Alfons Karabuda and Luke Jenkinson


IMC President Alfons Karabuda said: ‘I’m thrilled to see the goals set by the Global Music Vault through the project Silica. It will ensure not only safe and environmentally friendly archiving of music but ensuing that the global diversity of music is at hand for present and future composers and songwriters to learn and be inspired from.’

Luke Jenkinson, Managing Director of Global Music Vault, explains that they made contact with Microsoft after following the developments of project 'Silica' work for several years.

"With over 4 million music producers globally, and over 60,000 songs being released just on Spotify every day, today's digital and physical data storage solutions are quickly becoming outdated, irrelevant and a risk to our future. We not only want to put this high on the global music industry agenda, we want to work with the best companies in the world to find solutions. As we want to offer the global music ecosystem an eternal solution, we believe that Microsoft’s Silica is that exact solution for our storage needs", says Jenkinson. He adds that the PoC will contain music and audio/visual contributions from the likes of pioneering innovator and artist Beatie Wolfe [UK], International music award Polar Music Prize [Sweden], Alexander Turnbull Library (part of the The National Library of New Zealand) [NZ] and International Library of African Music (ILAM) [South Africa].

The International Music Council, one of the Global Music Vault’s founding partners, has also contributed by adding even more diversity to the PoC. IMC facilitated the inclusion of material by two Music Rights Awards laureates, the Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments and New Technologies (Argentina) and Fayha Choir (Lebanon), as well as from Ketebul Music [Kenya], Kenyan organisation led by IMC Music Rights Champion Tabu Osusa.


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