Making music in a warming world
Music is a powerful cultural force, but the current model of touring and streaming harms the Earth. How can music take real action on climate?
This is what Whitney Bauck asks in the long-form article for the magazine Atmos. As Bauck highlights, music has existed long before fossil fuel extraction and it has the potential to be one of the most carbon-neutral art forms. However, between touring, online streaming and the use of unsustainable materials in the music industry, it is far from environmentally sustainable.
Bauck goes on to explain:
“If the mainstream music industry seemed to be largely asleep at the wheel for decades, in recent years, it has begun to wake up. More established nonprofits like Julie’s Bicycle, REVERB, and Hip Hop Caucus have been joined by newer groups like Music Declares Emergency—which provides guidance for everyone from artists to record labels to publishers about how to reduce their footprint—and Earth Percent—which partners with artists on tour to raise money for environmental causes.
Industry players are catching on. Peter Quicke, managing director of indie label Ninja Tune, is one such professional: Ninja Tune has lately installed solar panels and an air-source heat pump at its office, switched from 180- to 140-gram vinyl pressings to reduce the amount of material needed to make a record, and started working on a bioplastic option for vinyl.
As climate impacts intensify, a growing number of artists are lending their voices to the cause, with everyone from Billie Eilish to SZA to Bon Iver speaking out in recent years. Music Declares Emergency provides training for just this purpose—to help artists become more comfortable talking to the media about climate—and Tickell of Julie’s Bicycle believes that greening the process of touring and streaming and recording can help artists feel more empowered to speak out, too.”
Read the full article on Atmos to find out how the industry is transforming and reflecting the current climate.