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Digital Music is Greener

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For more information about green music, green music news, green musicians and everything else eco-friendly-music-like visit Green Music Alliance!

It goes without saying that downloading music is more eco-friendly than buying CDs with all their packaging, papering and plastics. Even after factoring in electricity used by your computer and internet provider and your computer its self buying digital versions of CDs is still way more environmental. This has been shown in a recent study.

The result is hardly shocking, but it’s kind of fun nonetheless: a life cycle analysis reveals that downloading music digitally creates less than one sixth the carbon emissions of buying it from a retail store.

The study compares six scenarios:

1. Music purchased from a traditional retail store
2. Music purchased from an online retailer and delivered by truck
3. Music purchased from an online retailer and delivered by plane
4. Digital music purchase (e.g., via iTunes or Amazon.com)
5. Digital music purchase burned to CD
6. Digital music purchase burned to CD and then stored in a plastic jewel case

There are some interesting points to highlight. If you look at the pdf and article you’ll see that over 1/2 of the emissions in producing/buying a cd come from the car ride to the store to buy the CD! So I guess if you’re going to walk or bike there then the footprint you’re leaving is drastically decreased.

Obviously the best case scenario is to get the digital copy and not make a physical copy. But there are downfalls to that. I had an external harddrive of over 400 GBs of digital music. My brother fried it and I lost it all.

But anyway…Even if you’re buying digital or walking to the store to buy your CDs you still may not be getting your fill of eco-friendly music treats. You should check out The Green Music Alliance as it is doing its part in keeping music environmentally friendly with the following goals:

1. Raise awareness,
2. Highlight green resources,
3. Identify “greener” music business alternatives,
4. Reduce your carbon footprint,
5. Grow a green-aware online music community.

They have really fun and interesting green musician spotlights and all the news on what different musicians are doing for the environment! So definitely check that out if you’re a music lover, like me!

Personally I’ve been happy to see Dave Matthews continuing his green initiatives. First with his car pooling in 2008 and now free downloads for eco-pledges. He’s dreamy.