Massive Attack Encoded Popular Album ‘Mezzanine’ in DNA


Massive Attack’s Celebrated the 20-year anniversary of 1998 classic Mezzanine album by encoding an entire album into DNA strand

DNA molecule can stores genetic data in living beings securely for several thousand years without any corruption or degradation. This property is utilized by researchers at ETH Zurich, who stored one of the most popular electronic music albums of all time over a million strands of DNA. Mezzanine by trip-hop band Massive Attack has been encoded into DNA to mark the 20th anniversary of the album’s release. As a part of process, the audio in an album was converted from binary (0s and 1s) form into a sequence of DNA molecules (A, T, G, C).

Furthermore, it was divided into 920,000 equal strands of DNA, which were poured into 5,000 tiny glass beads for preservation. The data is projected to be stored for infinite time provided that optimum conditions are maintained. The aim of this move was to preserve the Massive Attack’s album for eternity. One gram of DNA can store one billion terabytes of information. For instance, 1TB can store around 2.5 lakh MP3 songs (at 4MB each), so many songs can be stored on a single gram of DNA).

Although this isn’t the first time scientists have stored digital information or even music on DNA, an entire album has been stored onto the critical biomolecule for the first time. Massive Attack has notably been ahead of its time when it comes to technology. Mezzanine became the first album to be released for online music streaming using a RealAudio Player. So, storing it for future generations in a resilient format is not just justice to the album, but also vital from point of view of music history.


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