StegIbiza – Trance Music Code Carries Hidden Messages.

Next time you feel the music is speaking to you, it turns out you might be right.  To the delight of any tin foil hat wearing technologists, there is now no need to do a one fingered analogue backspin of a 60s grateful dead record to reveal the secrets within. The new age of subliminal messaging is upon us and its medium is inside trance.

A report on the Digitaltrends website has revealed details of a new form of cryptography called “StegIbiza” that can hide messages inside a unique form of trance music.

A cryptographer at the Warsaw University of Technology in Poland, going by the appropriately indecipherable name of  Krzysztof Szczypiorski, has made a breakthrough in the musical form of the code world by developing a technique that embeds secret messages into trance music.

According to the report, hiding secret messages within a musical composition or other form of creative work is nothing new. The technique of stenography is first known to have been used in the 16th century, when Benedictine monk Johannes Trithemius hid his treatise on cryptography within a book about magic. Since then the discipline has improved immensely with researchers now encoding messages inside the digital music.

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Digitaltrends state that Szczypiorski  “uses variations in tempo to encode secret messages in Ibiza dance-club music, a type of music originating in the Balearic islands that are known for its heavy, trance-like beat. He uses the tempo changes as a digital Morse code — speeding up the tempo for a dot and slowing it down for a dash. These tempo changes are then added to a song using software like Apple’s Logix X Pro and used to spell out words. It’s so easy to apply that Szczypiorski expects someone can easily create a software program that will introduce these tempo changes automatically.”

They go on to say that “The technique is so subtle that listeners cannot detect these tempo changes, hearing only the music itself at parties. When testing this method, Szczypiorski found he could alter the tempo by 2 percent without people, even trained musicians noticing the changes.”

Szczypiorski said to MIT Technology Review that he called his technique “StegIbiza” after the music’s Mediterranean origins.

We are not sure that Szczypiorski’s accreditation of Ibiza being solely responsible for the trance genre would stand up in a musical court, but we’ll take his association with brand Ibiza as a compliment. As for DJs not noticing a 2% shift in tempo? We think the message may be an SOS warning of some pretty bad mixing to come.

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