Music streaming may be contributing to climate change: study

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Downloading and streaming music on online platforms is contributing significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study by the Universities of Glasgow and Oslo.

Researchers converted the amount of plastic production and electricity generation to represent the amount of resources and energy being used to download and stream music online, referring to them as greenhouse gas equivalents.

Music streaming in the U.S. was estimated to have produced between 200 million to 350 million kilograms of greenhouse gas in 2016, according to a University of Glasgow news release. That is the approximate amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated by what is needed to transmit and store digital music files.

According to the news release, this is an increase from 140 million kilograms of greenhouse gas equivalents in 1977, 136 million kilograms in 1988, and 157 million kilograms in 2000.

Dr Kyle Devine, who led the study, was quoted by the University of Glasgow news release as saying : "From a carbon emissions perspective … 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."

Devine told The Rolling Stone that the figure does not include the carbon footprint of data storage and processing in data centers or the amount of electricity needed to power a digital device.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Music icons entering a folder, and a factory releasing greenhouse gas emissions
2. US map, phone with music on it and a red measurement bar
3. Plastic CD case, electricity icon and music icon
4. Graph depicting greenhouse gas equivalent rates

VOICEOVER (in English):
"A new study by the Universities of Glasgow and Oslo has found that downloading and streaming music on online platforms is contributing significantly to greenhouse gas emissions."

"According to a University of Glasgow news release, music streaming in the U.S. was estimated to have produced between 200 million to 350 million kilograms of greenhouse gas in 2016."

"That is the approximate amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated by what is needed to transmit and store digital music files."

"Researchers converted the amount of plastic production and electricity generation to represent the amount of resources and energy being used to download and stream music online, referring to them as greenhouse gas equivalents."

"According to the news release, this is an increase from 140 million kilograms of greenhouse gas equivalents in 1977, 136 million kilograms in 1988, and 157 million kilograms in 2000."

SOURCES: Rolling Stone, University of Glasgow, Citizen Bravo, Spotify Sustainability Report 2017, Live for Live Music, MIT Press,
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/environmental-impact-streaming-music-835220/
https://www.gla.ac.uk/news/headline_643297_en.html
http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/183249/
http://www.citizenbravo.com/research.html
http://q4live.s22.clientfiles.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/540910603/files/doc_downloads/govDocs/Spotify-index-presentation-0702.pdf
https://liveforlivemusic.com/news/digital-music-greenhouse-gas/
https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/decomposed