The Atlantic: "Forty Years Later, the Golden Record Goes Vinyl"

The Atlantic's Marina Koren wrote about the Voyager Golden Record vinyl box set that I co-produced with Tim Daly and Lawrence Azerrad. From Koren's article, titled "Forty Years Later, the Golden Record Goes Vinyl":

Even though they had the tapes, Pescovitz and the rest of the team still needed to secure permission to use copyrighted material. Getting the rights to songs from major record labels or images from national publications was easy, since such institutions usually have a process in place. Tracking down the owners of some of the more obscure content, like melodies by indigenous groups, proved more difficult, Pescovitz said. Notes from the time of the record's original production were sometimes lacking or wrong, and online searches for some of the names listed turned up obituaries instead of contact information. "It came to the point where I was calling Papua New Guinea at 2 o'clock in the morning, and working with amazing ethnomusicologists around the world to try to track down as much information as possible, to find out about who these people were, what the music was, who collected it and when," Pescovitz said.

The owner of one musical piece featuring panpipes was listed as the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, so Pescovitz called. The staff didn't know the name of the song or who played it, but a young woman who was at the radio station overheard them talking about it (and told them the music came from her village and her grandfather would know the players. He spoke with the group's leader and the surviving musicians are now working on getting a bank account so Pescovitz and the team can pay them royalties.)

The team started shipping the vinyl records to their Kickstarter backers this week, in time for the Voyager mission's 40th anniversary. The gold-plated versions, meanwhile, are hurtling away from Earth are more than 35,000 miles per hour, looking for an audience. They may go unheard forever. But that doesn't really matter to Pescovitz.

"Yes, the Voyager record is a gift from humanity to the cosmos, but it's also a gift to humanity," he said. "It's a manifestation of what we can accomplish through creativity, passion, and science. It instills a sense of hope and possibility in people."

"Pre-order the Voyager Golden Record on vinyl and CD" (Ozma Records)