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Popular Music & The Environment

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A short overview of some of the issues surrounding the environment and the recording and live music industries

A short overview of some of the issues surrounding the environment and the recording and live music industries


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  • UNFCCC – UN Framework Conference on Climate Change
  • Note here: decline in sale of
  • Transcript

    • 1. Popular Music and the Environment
      John Williamson, 22nd March 2010
    • 2. Lecture Outline
      • Environmental Issues
      • 3. Environmental issues in the music industries
      • 4. Possible Solutions: Organisations or Individual actions?
      • 5. The Problems With the Solutions
      • 6. Conclusions
    • Environmental Issues
      • Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (2007) report scientific evidence of climate change with human activities “very likely the major cause of global warming”
      • 7. Action to deal with this evident from 1992 UN Conference in Rio, finally formalised by the Kyoto Protocol – agreed 1997, in force 2005.
      • 8. Kyoto based on the reduction of emissions of 4 greenhouse gases by 5.2% from 1990 level by 2012
    • Environmental Issues
      • Although 187 countries signed up to Kyoto, not all of them have ratified / legislated to deal with the targets.
      • 9. In the U.K., Climate Change Act (2008) sought reduction of emissions of 60% from 1990 level by 2050, and 34% by 2020.
      • 10. Mayor of London set target of 60% reduction by 2025; Scotland 42% reduction by 2020.
      • 11. Problems of implementation – international differences, enforceability.
    • Environmental Issues in the music industries
      • Awareness of a number of environmentally unfriendly aspects of musical activity, particularly:
      • 12. Production and distribution of vinyl and compact discs
      • 13. Travel to and from live music events by audiences
      • 14. Use of energy by venues
      • 15. Problems surrounding festivals / large scale events
      • 16. Travel and freight of equipment by touring artists
    • Environmental Issues in the music industries -scale
      • The first major U.K. study of the environmental impact of the music industries – “First Step” conducted for Julie’s Bicycle by Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford (2007)
      • 17. Headline figures:
      • 18. Total emissions per annum: 540 000 tonnesCO2e
      • 19. Recorded Music – each CD from recording to retail uses 1kg CO2e – approx 138 000 tonnesCO2e (26%)
      • 20. Audience Travel: 231 000 tonnesCO2e (43%)
      • 21. Music Venues: 125 000 tonnesCO2e (23%)
    • Environmental Issues in the music industries -scale
    • 22. Environmental Issues in the music industries -scale
      • Report admits it is only a first attempt to gather data and does not include ‘activities linked to the music industry’ – e.g. manufacture of instruments, playing devices, etc.
      • 23. Emissions of the UK music industries approximately equivalent to town of 54 000 inhabitants or annual emissions of 180 000 cars
      • 24. 75% of emissions from live sector, remainder from recording – current trends in music industries could be bad for environment.

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