BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 30th April '14

A SONG MANUFACTURED TO GO EXTINCT UNLESS IT’S REPRODUCED

To celebrate Earth Day, American rock band Portugal. The Man released 400 copies of The Endangered Song, ‘Sumatran Tiger’, to represent the 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. The lathe-cut polycarbonate records will degrade over time as the record is played – it will go extinct unless it’s digitally reproduced, just like the Sumatran tiger will go extinct if we don’t take action.

Sumatran tigers are the smallest surviving tiger subspecies. Labelled critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the two major threats to the Sumatran tiger are habitat loss and poaching.

We need to work faster…

Dr John Seidensticker, Scientist and Tiger Expert at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, said, ‘When I started working in Indonesia in the ’70s, we estimated there were 1,000 wild Sumatran tigers. Today, our best estimate is a disastrous 400. I’m still convinced we can conserve this species along with other animals that share the tigers’ habitat, which would also be good for humans. We just need to work faster.’

For the Endangered Song Project, Portugal. The Man collaborated with Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute to create the song ‘Sunmatran Tiger’, a record which will go extinct unless it’s reproduced digitally.

Designed to degrade

According to the band’s website, ‘We have been working on a project with the Smithsonian National Zoo to help raise awareness for the Sumatran Tiger. There are only 400 tigers left so we are making 400 copies of a 7″ vinyl which are meant to degrade with each listen.

‘This record will NOT last forever. We have randomly chosen people from our friends, family and mailing list. Since you are getting this email you were entered into the list and maybe have gotten this 7″. If you were not lucky enough to get a free 7″ never fear as the song will be available, however, it is on the people who got the 7″ to rip it and share it. So, check the boards, check soundcloud, check YouTube, check this website www.endangeredsong.si.edu.’

The 400 records were sent to a wide range of bloggers, music artists, wildlife conservationists and other influencers, and the only way to save the song is by digitising and sharing it on social media, using the hashtag #EndangeredSong. The hope is that, as the record is circulated, each new person it reaches will also be made aware of the action required to save the Sumatran tiger.