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.