We tried out this whole ‘music’ thing for a couple of millennia, and while it had a good run, it’s now clear that humans just can’t be trusted with melody and rhythm. As first and final proof, look no further than the new ViroMusic project, which used computers to transform the genetic sequence of the COVID-19 virus into songs — and then turned those songs into NFTs. Because if there was one thing this human-killing virus needed, it was a way to kill the environment, too.

ViroMusic used a process called DNA Sonification. A software program hunted through COVID-19’s genetic code, looking for stretches of the RNA that could be translated to music. Afterwards, an algorithm converted that RNA into musical notes. But the results didn’t sound exactly like songs, and so ViroMusic brought in ringers: real, human musicians to accompany these near-random melodies.

The songs seem to be mostly piano or synth with cello. According to the ViroMusic website, “The idea for this collection was born from an awe of the beauty in the code of life. We hope this project helps to raise awareness that even a virus capable of inflicting such misery is fundamentally based on the same code as every living thing on earth. We thought it would be interesting to take this code and make it play music. We hope you find it as haunting, interesting and provocative as we do.”


The results sound like any old ambient track. You can spend a few hundred bucks to ‘own’ these NFTs on the blockchain through Rarible.com, or you could simply listen to some of them for free below.