DigitalMusic-Carbon

Digital Music's Carbon Impact

16 Nov 2009

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The Carbon Impacts Of Recorded Music Products In A Time Of Transition

This position paper on digital music and carbon impacts is a response to the small number of research documents, including one by Julie’s Bicycle – this paper’s author – that examines energy use and carbon reduction associated with recorded music, with an emphasis on digital.  It specifically recommends some further research into downloading and streaming.

While this piece is focused on music it does have relevance for a much wider creative community.  The creative industries are rapidly shifting to digital.  Currently believed to account for approximately 2% of the world’s energy consumption (equivalent to the global aviation industry),  this paper calls for an examination of the impacts of new business models and listening behaviours so that the force of digital can be matched with the interests of a low carbon infrastructure.

Referencing leading work by Digital Europe: e-business and sustainable development (in cooperation with EMI), the RESOLVE group at Surrey University and Microsoft and Intel-commissioned research from researchers at Carnegie Mellon and Stanford Universities, in the US, this paper asserts that in order to reduce the full emissions profile of digital music, there’s a need to understand how the consumer listens to, stores and disposes-of their music products and devices.

Given the current limited understanding of emissions associated with digital music, understanding the ‘use’ phase will better-enable the development of building low-impact, sustainable business models.