Music Industry Goes Green
Tue, 06 Mar 2007 15:24:15
Lots of idealistic fans and musicians have long believed that music can change the world—so why can't it save the planet, too? In a growing trend that would make Al Gore proud, bands, labels, and concert promoters are going green, trying to change their habits to make the music industry a more environmentally friendly business.
"There is no downside to being friendly to the planet," said John Esposito, head of sales and distribution for the Warner Music Group. Warner Music, home to artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and My Chemical Romance, has announced that it will switch to "ecologically-enhanced paper packaging" for all of its releases by the end of this month. One Warner artist, Guster, is taking things one step further, releasing an eight-song EP on April 10th called Satellite that is entirely carbon neutral—meaning that the band purchased "credits" from a renewable energy company to offset the carbon emissions of the manufacturing process.
Several artists are taking steps to make the touring process greener as well. Barenaked Ladies, Jack Johnson, and other acts have been traveling in biodiesel buses and selling eco-friendly tour merchandise. Country legend Willie Nelson has even gone so far as to launch his own biodiesel fuel company, and last year, Los Angeles-based folk duo the Ditty Bops took the extreme step of touring on bicycles.
The bigger question is whether any of these efforts will inspire music fans to adopt similar practices in their own lives. That's what Al Gore is hoping; as reported here previously, Gore plans to host a global set of seven concerts on July 7th, 2007 to raise awareness about climate change and other environmental issues. The Live Earth concerts will take place on all seven continents and feature over 100 acts, including Fall Out Boy, the Black Eyed Peas, Akon, and Corinne Bailey Rae.
Gore and his newly launched organization, Save Our Selves, are working with the U.S. Green Building Council to make the Live Earth concerts carbon neutral by reducing the events' waste and energy usage, and by offsetting the inevitable carbon emissions of such a large-scale production through the use of so-called "carbon credits." What exactly is a carbon credit? The concept is confusing and controversial, as seen last week when Al Gore found himself under fire for the amount of energy it takes to keep the lights on and the pool heated at his Tennessee mansion—nearly 20 times the national average. The Gore family's argument that they are offsetting their own energy use by buying credits towards renewable energy sources elsewhere has, so far, mostly fallen on deaf ears—and the same critics might soon set their sights on the Live Earth concerts.