A study published yesterday found that streaming digital music led to “unintended” environmental and economic impacts. Despite a reduction in the use of plastics in physical music media, storing and transmitting digital music led to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

Researchers discovered that the amount of GHGs generated by the streaming and downloading of music online is actually much larger than the amount that was once generated by the production of plastic used to make vinyl records, cassettes and CDs in earlier decades.

The study seems focused on plastic use in physical media vs. storing and streaming digital music from servers. I’d like to see more data, such as how much electricity is used when billions of people play the average CD vs. a digital song.


Check It Out: Which One is Better for the Environment: Physical or Digital Music?

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  1. Scott B in DC

    What happens if the servers used by the streaming service runs on sustainable energy. For example, Apple’s North Carolina-based server farm generates more solar electricity than it uses. Does it get a GHG credit for selling cheap power back to the community? If someone who benefits from Apple’s overproduction of electricity then streams Apple Music, does that reduce the GHG since there is a net-zero increase in production?

    In other words, the study is BRAVO SIERRA. The study was based on an agenda and not a legitimate scientific method.

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