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Music consumption has unintended economic and environmental costs Reverb & Delay Plugins
Old 11th April 2019
  #1
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Music consumption has unintended economic and environmental costs

I found this rather interesting research, it still hasn't been made public, so still waiting to understand the mechanics behind the claims.
It does look interesting and actually counterintuitive...

University of Glasgow - University news - Music consumption has unintended economic and environmental costs


Music consumption has unintended economic and environmental costs

Issued: Mon, 08 Apr 2019 10:00:00 BST

Music consumption has unintended economic and environmental costs, according to new research published today (Monday 8 April 2019) in the run-up to worldwide Record Store Day.

The price consumers have been willing to pay for listening to recorded music has never been lower, while the environmental impact of listening to music has never been higher, researchers have found.

Results of a research collaboration called The Cost of Music between the University of Glasgow and the University of Oslo demonstrate how the economic costs of recorded music consumption have steadily fallen in recent decades while its carbon emissions costs have soared.
Matt Brennan 650

Dr Matt Brennan, a Reader in Popular Music from the University of Glasgow, led the research on the changing economic cost of recorded music, said: “The point of this research is not to tell consumers that they should not listen to music, but to gain an appreciation of the changing costs involved in our music consumption behaviour.

“We hope the findings might encourage change toward more sustainable consumption choices and services that remunerate music creators while mitigating environmental impact.”

Dr Kyle Devine, an Associate Professor in Music from the University of Oslo, led the research on the environmental cost of recording formats, said: “From a plastic pollution perspective, the good news is that overall plastic production in the recording industry has diminished since the heyday of vinyl.

“From a carbon emissions perspective, however, the transition towards streaming recorded music from internet-connected devices has resulted in significantly higher carbon emissions than at any previous point in the history of music.”

The price consumers have been willing to pay for the luxury of recorded music has changed dramatically over history.
Graphic price whole


After adjusting for inflation, the research showed that the rough price of a phonograph cylinder in its peak year of production in 1907 would be $13.88 in current US dollars; versus $10.89 for a shellac disc in its peak year of 1947. A vinyl album in its peak year of 1977 cost $28.55 in today’s money, compared to $16.66 for a cassette tape in 1988, $21.59 for a CD in 2000, and $11.11 for a digital album download in 2013.

The research also shows that when plotted against the changing average salary of a US citizen over history, consumers were willing to pay roughly 4.83% of an average weekly salary in vinyl’s peak year of production in 1977, a price which slips down to roughly 1.22% of an average weekly salary in 2013, the peak of digital album sales.

The advent of streaming over the last decade, now means for just $9.99, or just over 1% of the current average weekly salary in the USA, consumers now have unlimited access to almost all of the recorded music ever released via platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Pandora, and Amazon.

The research also looked at the environmental impact of the music industry in the US in terms of the plastics used and greenhouse emissions.

From the plastics perspective, in 1977 (the US sales peak of the LP) the recording industry used 58 million kilograms of plastic. In 1988 (the peak of cassette sales) the industry used 56 million kilograms of plastic. And in 2000 (the peak of CD sales) the industry used 61 million kilograms of plastic. Then, when downloading and streaming take over, the amount of plastics used by the US recording industry drops dramatically, down to around 8 million kilograms by 2016.

Dr Devine said: “These figures seem to confirm the widespread notion that music digitalised is music dematerialised. The figures may even suggest that the rises of downloading and streaming are making music more environmentally friendly. But a very different picture emerges when we think about the energy used to power online music listening. Storing and processing music online uses a tremendous amount of resources and energy – which a high impact on the environment.”

It is possible to demonstrate this by translating the production of plastics and the generation of electricity (for storing and transmitting digital audio files) into greenhouse gas equivalents (GHGs).

The research shows GHGs of 140 million kilograms in 1977, 136 million kilograms in 1988, and 157 million in 2000. But by 2016 the generation of GHGs by storing and transmitting digital files for those listening to music online is estimated to be between 200 million kilograms and over 350 million kilograms in the US alone.

The research collaboration informs a multimedia art project in which researcher Dr Brennan, under the artist pseudonym Citizen Bravo, has released an album entitled “Build A Thing Of Beauty,” the sole physical copy of which exists as an interactive musical sculpture called the SCI★FI★HI★FI. The sculpture is intended to engage audiences to consider the changing costs of music over history from the Edison wax cylinder up to streaming from the cloud.

Dr Brennan said: “We see raising awareness of the findings as a first step towards developing alternatives, where music consumption can become both economically sustainable for makers while being environmentally sustainable for the planet.”

Last edited by audioloud; 11th April 2019 at 01:43 PM.. Reason: grammer!
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Old 11th April 2019
  #2
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It'll be interesting to see more research done on this, but I do wonder if it takes into account not just the environmental impact of making physical records -- but also of transporting the raw materials and the finished records -- when drawing comparisons with the impact of digital storage, retrieval, and streaming? It would also be interesting to see the scope of the research expanded to include movies, since those have followed a nearly identical trajectory (except for those of us satellite internet customers with limited internet bandwidth and quota.... we can barely stream music, and video is pretty well out of the question).


(I personally don't believe that "carbon emissions" are the boogeyman they've been made out to be, either... but I don't want to get political.)
Old 11th April 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WorldPowerLabs View Post
(I personally don't believe that "carbon emissions" are the boogeyman they've been made out to be, either... but I don't want to get political.)
Yes, please don't.
This is a scientific publication, no space for opinions and ideologies.
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Old 11th April 2019
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Do you have a link to the whole publication where they talk about the methods used for the emissions part?
Old 11th April 2019
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Originally Posted by ProgFree View Post
Do you have a link to the whole publication where they talk about the methods used for the emissions part?
I think these are just the findings. I think the actual research isn't out yet.
I am curious as well....
Old 11th April 2019
  #6
My gut -- and we're talking unscientific sensibility here -- suggests that there is more to study in this regard, and I wonder if all the other contributing factors were adequately factored in, everything from the auto trips to the record store to buy physical product to bandwidth saving efficiencies like content caching.

Also, I'd really like to see a breakout comparison on cat videos and breakfast photos...
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Old 11th April 2019
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So I've been going through the Zip file they provide and all the data there. This does not look promising. For example the figure they give on greenhouse gas emissions for 2016 due to streaming/downloads etc is: 200 million kg to 350 million kg, we are talking 80% uncertainty here. And there are no error bars in the data showing the statistical uncertainties among other problems. A proper environmental impact study needs ppl from materials science, materials processing, environmental sciences, logistics, etc etc and a lot of data from consumers behavior. Apparently here there's two musicologists doing the whole study. I understood that they count the environmental impact of the electronics of digital playback and storage systems for the download/streaming figures but not for the play back of vinyl, cds and tape. I was fearing something of this kind, but I'll wait to read the protocol for the environmental impact part.


Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Also, I'd really like to see a breakout comparison on cat videos and breakfast photos...
That would be interesting
Remove the music, the movies, the books, take everything out from the internet, but don't take the memes!
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Old 11th April 2019
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Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post

Also, I'd really like to see a breakout comparison on cat videos and breakfast photos...
Now that's the real reason for the impending armageddon!!
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Old 11th April 2019
  #9
I could watch that gif-loop of the tiny kitten repeatedly attacking the very large, mostly offscreen dog's rapidly wagging tail just about all day long.

But, you know, gif-loop... one of the most 'efficient' time-wasters of the digital era. A few hundred KB for a whole day's mindless, hypnotic entertainment.




[It's all a lie. I hate gif-loops. Though the kitten attacking the dog tail was pretty damn cute.]
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Old 11th April 2019
  #10
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First of all, it must be nice to be paid to do "Research" leading to bogus facts and random arbitrarily place figures...
Second and what this article didn't mention (not sure if the research did) the fact that when Vinyl and tape were produced, they not only produced pollution when they were made, they produced pollution a second time when discarded. The other thing they failed to mention is that it takes tremendous amount of resources to maitain online services, but just imagine (no math needed just common sense) how many millions of people listen to and download in just one day?. Imagine if all those people had to buy a physical copy? Again even at their peak, online services do not pollute nearly as much as physical media if you consider that a single online service can support millions of users in ONE day vs having to make millions of physical copies which will take considerably longer?
This whole research lacks at least that logic.
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Old 11th April 2019
  #11
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That's a good point. Also, I suspect that accurate figures for energy use associated with storing and distributing digital files may be quite hard to determine with any real accuracy. I think orders of magnitude might be something that can be estimated, but that's probably as close as anyone can get on that.

If they are indeed counting the impact of making the devices that store and play back the digital files, then that seems a little sketchy in this particular context -- at least on the consumer playback side of things -- since most consumers are going to use their phones, tablets, computers, etc. for other purposes as well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
My gut -- and we're talking unscientific sensibility here -- suggests that there is more to study in this regard, and I wonder if all the other contributing factors were adequately factored in, everything from the auto trips to the record store to buy physical product to bandwidth saving efficiencies like content caching.

Also, I'd really like to see a breakout comparison on cat videos and breakfast photos...
Old 11th April 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WorldPowerLabs View Post
It'll be interesting to see more research done on this, but I do wonder if it takes into account not just the environmental impact of making physical records -- but also of transporting the raw materials and the finished records -- when drawing comparisons with the impact of digital storage, retrieval, and streaming? It would also be interesting to see the scope of the research expanded to include movies, since those have followed a nearly identical trajectory (except for those of us satellite internet customers with limited internet bandwidth and quota.... we can barely stream music, and video is pretty well out of the question).


(I personally don't believe that "carbon emissions" are the boogeyman they've been made out to be, either... but I don't want to get political.)
They also failed to consider that the devices used to play media today consume way less power than the devices needed to play records and tapes. that alone is a huge difference in pollution, a smart phone uses 5 volts to get charged for about an hr, the average record player (playing an LP) used hundreds more than that in the same time, I had my Ipad playing music for 10 hrs while I did home remodeling, on battery, it was at 92 percent when I turned it off, I don't recall the voltage needed to charge an Ipad, but in that scenario is like trying to compare the fuel economy of a prius vs an 18 wheeler. I can see many flaws with the logic in this study...
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Old 11th April 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
My gut -- and we're talking unscientific sensibility here -- suggests that there is more to study in this regard, and I wonder if all the other contributing factors were adequately factored in, everything from the auto trips to the record store to buy physical product to bandwidth saving efficiencies like content caching.


how about the trucks to deliver the product to the stores, and the heat and electricity for those stores? They calculated plastic but there was also a lot of paper and cardboard in those LPs and CDs.

I bet the average record player from 1973 used a lot more electricity on playback than an iPod with earbuds. Not just amp and speakers, but turntable motors and incandescent pilot lights. Times a billion....


Quote:
Also, I'd really like to see a breakout comparison on cat videos and breakfast photos...
I would like to see a breakout comparison vs Bitcoin Mining!
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Old 11th April 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doggyd69b View Post
They also failed to consider that the devices used to play media today consume way less power than the devices needed to play records and tapes. that alone is a huge difference in pollution, a smart phone uses 5 volts to get charged for about an hr, the average record player (playing an LP) used hundreds more than that in the same time, I had my Ipad playing music for 10 hrs while I did home remodeling, on battery, it was at 92 percent when I turned it off, I don't recall the voltage needed to charge an Ipad, but in that scenario is like trying to compare the fuel economy of a prius vs an 18 wheeler. I can see many flaws with the logic in this study...
Spot on. The amplifiers in millions of home stereos back in the day were way more inefficient (about 75% efficient, 25% energy translated into heat and not sound) than modern class D or HD with up to 90% efficiency.
An oldschool tanky power amp can idle with 400Watts power consumption without playing a sound. Modern smps and Class HD can have a stand-by consumption down to 1Watt

The usual agenda of inflicting some form of guilt when Dr Kyle Devine is stating
"The price consumers have been willing to pay for the luxury of recorded music has changed dramatically over history"

Right, the luxury of having a view through a clear window pane
The luxury of having any veg and fruit in winter
The luxury for environmentalists and green party snails to fly all around the world for their environmental preaching
blah, blah, blah

Music has been a part of human culture for longer than we have records for -no pun intended.

Last edited by TobyToby; 11th April 2019 at 11:17 PM..
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Old 11th April 2019
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Originally Posted by TobyToby View Post
The luxury for green party members to fly all around the world for their environmental preaching
blah, blah, blah
No politics please mate
Old 11th April 2019
  #16
Gear Addict
 

There would be an additional parameter that would be interesting to consider and I don't know if it was considered in this paper:
The amount of population actually having access to electricity and tech in general and therefore to personal listening experiences.
Decades ago there was only a part of the globe having this kind of access, the Western world. Now the emergence of developing countries has added an insane number of music consumers (and consumers of cat videos too) in their millions.

Another aspect could be the use of disposable batteries for walkmans and big a** boomboxes....
Old 11th April 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioloud View Post
No politics please mate
You started this thread with them
Old 12th April 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobyToby View Post
You started this thread with them
"you started"

No I haven't . I shared a scientific research.
Old 12th April 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioloud View Post
"you started"

No I haven't . I shared a scientific research.
You shared questionable data that came with subjective statements and an agenda
Old 12th April 2019
  #20
Thread not going to work.
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