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20 minutes – How music streaming hurts the weather


The listener never had to pay less for music than today. At the same time, the environmental impact of listening to music has never been greater than it is now. This was the result of the "The Cost of Music" study at the University of Glasgow and the University of Oslo.


How do you listen to your music?

According to the study, the willingness of users to pay music has also changed. The researchers found in their study that in the maximum year of vinyl production in 1977 consumers spent on average 4.83 percent of the average weekly content for music. In 2013, this figure is little more than a percentage.

Although, according to the researchers, the economic costs of the consumption of music have diminished in the last decades, their CO2 emissions have increased significantly. How is it?

Less plastic

Thanks to music streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Amazon or Pandora, all plastic production of the music industry has diminished. In the year of vinyl production in 1977, 58 million kilograms of plastic were used annually. In 1988, when the cassette reached its peak, the industry consumed 56 million kilograms. In the year 2000, the CD increased to 61 million kilograms.

Then the turn started. Until 2016, the necessary amount of plastic fell to only 8 million kilograms. At first sight this seems to be very good news.

More greenhouse gases

Kyle Devine, a music professor at the University of Oslo, and co-author of the study, says: "These numbers may indicate that music downloads and streaming have made them more respectful with the medium Ambience. However, a very different image appears when we think of the energy that is devoted to listening to music online. "

To demonstrate this, researchers have made the necessary energy to produce plastic and generate electricity to store and broadcast music in greenhouse gas equivalents. The study shows that greenhouse gas emissions from 1977 to 2000 were only subject to slight fluctuations, but recently they have fired. Only for the USA, the values ​​of 200 to more than 350 million kilograms by 2016 were estimated.

"CO2 emissions are significantly higher than at any other time in the history of music," says Dr. I became The reason for this is that for the transmission, downloading and backing up of music, you need devices with Internet access that require significantly higher consumption than other playback devices.


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