If there were ever a space that encapsulates the world’s history of rock and roll, it would be Cleveland’s aptly named Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Rock Hall) is the custodian of the largest collections of rock & roll history and its place in society. Spanning every era and genre of rock and roll holds a vast array of thousands of musical instruments, stage outfits, props, album covers, cars, motorcycles, and the personal items of musicians and industry professionals.

In 2012, the Rock Hall established a separate library and archive to collect, preserve, and access the institution’s archival collections. Its purpose – to chronicle rock history and the evolution of music made up of millions of documents, audio recordings, photographs, video files, and other materials.

For 25 years, these collections have been accessible only in Cleveland, but modern audiences demand a 21st Century Rock Hall that is accessible no matter where you live. A centralized digital media management repository would create an institutional-wide standard for sustaining and accessing highly valuable and unique assets, allowing everyone within the organization to know exactly what is available, driving innovative outcomes for marketing, education, curatorial, and archival initiatives.

The Challenge

When the Library of Archives commenced, LTO tape storage and backup were implemented for preservation level content, to manage large files such as three hour-long videos in 4K resolution. As the years passed the technical infrastructure required to store the files became expensive to maintain, and was fraught with technical challenges.

In late 2018, an assessment of the digital storage infrastructure was undertaken by the Rock Hall’s Senior Director of Digital Systems and Strategy. As a result of this process, it was established that archival video content retained on legacy LTO tapes was inaccessible and needed to be urgently migrated off the tape to mitigate any risk of loss. However, tthe Rock Hall no longer had access to the initial database software, and the hardware they did have was unreliable.

After assessing a series of options, the Rock Hall decided a cloud-native media asset management platform running on Amazon Web Services (AWS) in conjunction with Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive cloud storage, was the most cost-effective and flexible way to manage preservation level digital media to meet the demands of the 21st Century. The most pressing priority was to restore the content from the legacy tapes.

The Solution

AWS introduced the Rock Hall to Tape Ark, to retrieve and restore the files from the legacy LTO tapes to S3 Glacier Deep Archive.

Not only did Tape Ark understand the importance of recovering the data, but precisely what was required to achieve a successful outcome: managing the end-to-end migration including auditing, restoring, and ingesting the files into Snowballs so it can be to Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive.

“There were 2,000 files we knew we needed and [Tape Ark] also found 109 preservation level videos that I didn’t know existed. I’d say that’s an over 100% success rate.”
Heidi Quicksilver, Senior Director of Digital Systems and Strategy

With its archival content now in the cloud, the Rock Hall can apply new tools to legacy content including AI, ML, Automated Meta Data creation, OCR, Speech to Text, and Facial Recognition tools. The content is now highly accessible and feature-rich in ways that could never before be imagined.

“Now that Tape Ark has restore our preservation video assets, the next step is to access and use the assets in our day to day business in a more efficient way.”

The Rock Hall partnered with GrayMeta, implementing its Curio Platform to connects assets to extract and create intelligent metadata leveraging machine learning and AI technology.

“Curio enables the Rock Hall to train faces and people, places, logos, words spoken, emotion, sentiment and also processes all assets for text (OCR and speech to text) and making this information highly searchable. Now in a few seconds, we can find and use content which before took us a long time to locate”, Heidi Quicksilver.

You can read more here about the AWS services used for this successful migration.