You can add streaming to the list of things killing the planet


By Jack

Is it possible to take a step outside the door without killing the planet in some unseen way?

David Attenborough’s cerebral Blue Planet has produced visions of fish bobbing about with 7 Up bottles and poor little seahorses getting stuck in six-pack rings, while the Trump administration decides climate change isn’t really a thing and a chunk of Antarctica the size of Texas slowly falls into the ocean.

You’ll be cheered to learn that by streaming music you’re contributing your part towards total annihilation.

A study published by the University of Glasgow suggests that, far from slowing greenhouse gas emissions, the decline of physical media has actually hastened it.

Because nothing is ever easy.


It turns out that the environmental cost of running the servers and infrastructure needed to store and distribute music online is more than it was even at the height of the CD boom.

Those with a certain education will note that physical media is typically made of plastic and streams typically are not made of plastic so this is something of a surprise.

However by looking at the energy consumed – either in producing CDs or vinyl or by running the infrastructure of streaming services – you get the full picture. Translated into GHGs (greenhouse gas equivalents) 150 million kg were generated in 2000; by 2016 this was up to 200 – 350 million kg.

These figures are for the US alone. For added fun, double that figure and add 10% to be safe. That’s nearly 800 million kg of greenhouse gas equivalents worldwide being eaten up just to save Drake’s Views for posterity.

The take-away here: wear sackcloth, join a convent, stop listening to Post Malone.

One comment

  1. It’s so obvious when you think about it but I reckon the average person would never have considered this. I’m proud to be a CD collector, but I still stream new music to review it and decide whether I want to buy it or not.

    Liked by 1 person

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