The plastic and packaging that comes with CDs and vinyl makes them seem worse for the environment, but the popularity of music streaming services may be polluting in other ways.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow have found that if you though not buying physical copies of music and streaming it instead was good for environment, you might need to think again as greenhouse gas emissions are higher now because of it.
By moving from records to digital, the combination of extra power demands and the sheer popularity of music may have counterbalanced the gains gotten from the switch.
Where vinyl produced 346 million pounds of greenhouse gasses at its height in 1977, downloads and streaming are estimated to produce 441 million to 772 million pounds now.
“The point of this research is not to tell consumers that they should not listen to music, but to gain an appreciation of the changing costs involved in our music consumption behavior,” said researcher Matt Brennan.
Moreover, one good news is that this shift to streaming music has decreased the amount of plastic pollution produced by the music industry as well.
Back in 1977, music makers produced 58 million kilograms of plastic, which was reduced to only 8 million kilograms by 2016.
“We hope the findings might encourage change toward more sustainable consumption choices and services that remunerate music creators while mitigating environmental impact,” Brennan added.