Streaming Music Online May be Anti-Green

Streaming Music Online May be Anti-Green

Apparently, streaming music could be harming the environment. Would you trade up live streaming for vinyl records?

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Total Votes : 31

Scroll down to see how people across America voted.

Vinyl records, once the most popular way of listening to music, have had a resurgence this decade, with the in popularity of anything retro. As of 2017, when over four million LPs were sold, sales of vinyl had increased 1,427% since 2007, showing that streaming digitally isn’t the only favorite way of listening to music.

However, with the slight turn back of the clock comes potential environmental issues.

Records used to be made of Shellac, but because of how susceptible to damage they were, manufacturers switched to the more durable, but non-recyclable Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). And with the spike in vinyl sales, it can lead to a more harmful impact on the environment compared to Shellac, which left a rather low carbon footprint since it was not a fossil fuel.

Today’s records are generally comprised of around 135 grams of PVC material which, according to the 3.4kg of CO₂ per 1kg of PVC measurement, accounts for a carbon footprint of 0.5kg of carbon dioxide per record.

Those 4.1 million sales from 2017 would produce 1.9 thousand tons of carbon dioxide, which is the carbon footprint of almost 400 people per year. And that does not even consider transport and packaging required.

This would lead many to believe that digital music is the better path to go if you want to “go green.” But that would be a misconception because, per BBC, streaming music also hurts the earth, as do streaming services such as Netflix.

Per BBC, “The electronic files we download are stored on active, cooled servers. The information is then retrieved and transmitted across the network to a router, which is transferred by wi-fi to our electronic devices. This happens every time we stream a track, which costs energy.”

To put it in layman’s terms, immense amounts of energy are required to keep data flowing on the internet. While some of it may be generated from clean energy sources, a lot of it comes from burning carbon-based fossil fuels, which scientists believe is a contributing factor to global warming.

“How we power our digital infrastructure is rapidly becoming critical to whether we will be able to arrest climate change in time,” says Gary Cook, IT sector analyst at Greenpeace.

If we listen to our streamed music using a hi-fi sound system, the estimated use is 107-kilowatt hours of electricity a year, costing about £15.00 to run.

However, A CD player uses 34.7-kilowatt hours a year and costs £5 to run because once vinyl or a CD is acquired, it can be played over and over again; the sole carbon cost comes from running the record player.

So, which is better? Well, the best answer appears to be, “It depends,” because it’s dependent on how much you use either of them.

Listening in small portions would favor digital streaming whereas listening often would tend to support the physical option.

However, if you use a digital app such as Spotify for music, you can always download your playlists onto your phone for offline use, so you don’t have to access the internet to listen.

Here’s how people on the Zip app are weighing in on this all over the country!

Apparently, streaming music could be harming the environment. Would you trade up live streaming for vinyl records?

40% Sure
60% Never
50% Sure
50% Never
25% Sure
75% Never



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