Published on March 21st, 2018 | by Alan Cross1
A good environmental question: Is streaming greener than vinyl?
One the beneficial things about our move from paper to electronic documents/newspapers/magazines is that we don’t need as many dead trees as we used to.
But what about music? Is streaming a greener way to get music than vinyl (or CDs, for that matter)?
This is from a site called The Ecologist.
Sales of new vinyl records were up by 26.8 percent in the UK last year – with 4.1 million long-players (LPs) purchased.
The vinyl resurgence has been welcomed by music loving discophiles wary of the digitalisation of culture – like Steve. But it’s a source of worry for resource efficiency-minded environmentalists – like Duncan.
Each LP weighs around 135g – so 4.1 million sales mean about 550 tonnes of petroleum-derived, polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC) entering circulation.
Once manufactured, the distribution of vinyl records also consumes resources. If you want a greener way to listen to a music track, streaming might seem the better option.
But streaming requires server farms, a data connection, a router and a digital device to play it on. The environmental costs here also add up.
Duncan sees Steve as a vinyl-worshipping hipster: Steve thinks Duncan is a resource efficiency fundamentalist, pathologically obsessed with reducing his and everybody else’s environmental impact.
To resolve this impasse amicably, we decided to work together to find out which is really the more sustainable way of listening to one’s jams.
Fascinating. Keep going.