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Let’s Talk: Should the music industry be doing MORE to support climate change?

Hello folks. Hope your mid week madness is going well so far. We’re gathering a little bit of political momentum with this talk today.

With the three major labels set to join leading indies in pledging to halve emissions by 2030 before achieving neutrality, it brings about a new conversation into the mix. Should we be doing more amongst it all to help our Earth recover?

The initial thoughts came first when Coldplay announced their eco-friendly world tour – and now it seems more global figures spearheading in the industry are following suit. More and more artists certainly need to get involved and share their feelings in terms of saving the planet cohesively aswell as sharing their best music work.

Should the industry – artists, workers and professionals included – be doing more to support our dying world? Let me know your thoughts.

4 replies on “Let’s Talk: Should the music industry be doing MORE to support climate change?”

Wow, there’s a loaded subject. I won’t try to get political. We have enough of that in the world these days. Let’s get back to the topic at hand. I would venture a guess that a band’s biggest expense on tour is the logistical stuff, like transportation.

I’ll take U2 as an example. I saw them on the Popmart tour in 1997 (Montreal – a great show). I managed to see the number of trucks needed to cart their stage, gear, etc. The number was close to 40 if memory serves. Clearly, the band required lots of trucks to cart the stuff around. They did five shows in Canada on that tour, from Montreal to Vancouver. That’s a HUGE distance (almost 3700km). Regardless of the means of transportation used to move everything and everyone, that’s a lot of pollution.

Take bands that are starting out, huddled in their gas guzzling half broken down minivan. They likely don’t have the means or the time to go electric. In my city, council just bought a billion dollars worth of electric buses for public transit. They can’t go a full day without a charge, a charge that takes hours to complete. I don’t think electric vans or buses are in any touring band’s near future.

Let’s get back to the question. Should the industry do more? Sure they could. There are some things they can do, though the music buying/renting public might not take too kindly to those things. Here are some things they could do.

1-Eliminate physical media for music sales. HELL NO! I WANT MY CDs! ;). They could come up with different packaging options. Ditching the CD jewel cases would work, though I don’t like the digipaks much.
2-Shorten tours. Personally, I don’t see anyone liking that option.
3-Eliminate the elaborate stage. I can’t picture Flaming Lips without the elaborate stage. They once put a home made space ship on stage!!!
4-For tours, have more than two bands on the bill. It would be like carpooling.
5-Reduce the merchandise sold. I like KISS, but we don’t need 90% of the stuff they have their name on. Can it with the bottle openers and beer bottle cozies too.
6-Ask the rich bands and record executives to let go of their private jets, third, fourth, fifth vacation homes and dozens of cars? I’m kidding. We already know the answer to that one.
7-Big bands could cart their gear by ship or train. That could work, though Canada isn’t known for its rail network. We do have the St.Lawrence seaway though. Travel through the great lakes would make moving stuff to the US fairly easy.
8-Bands can avoid countries that rely on coal for electricity. I’m not sure if that would fly.
9-Bands could turn the volume down at shows. Think of how thankful ears everywhere would be! It would reduce waste, based on the number of ear plugs used. I don’t go to a show without them.

The bottom line is that everyone has to do their part, instead of pointing fingers at others. Throwing money at the problem doesn’t work here, as evidenced by my city’s purchase of those electric buses.

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Hi Andrew. Wow. I mean, you’ve pretty much nailed this discussion in swift blow. Kudos to you! You make amicable points too, for sure. Basically, the sprawling masses of international artists can reduce their footprint by charting less trucks and less flashy lights but then … the elaborate stages make the music even better.

The fact that U2 had close to 40 trucks is simply absurd – I imagine it’s no different than the artists of today to be quite honest. Right now, they are all striving for our attention more to go on their tour after being in the dark for more than two years due to the pandemic. If anything, we’ve gotten MORE flashy and MORE extravagant with our live concerts and shows to prove to those 2019 tours that we can simply do one better.

It’s funny actually with this and the points you mention in both 6 and 7. Coldplay recently announced an eco-friendly tour with efforts to reduce carbon waste where the stadium is powered by the feet of the stamping audience themselves. Yet, they confirmed that they WON’T cancel their private jets or touring army of trucks and cars. Which is interesting – it seems that all the sacrifices are being made by the fans, the venue and everyone else .. BUT the music artist.

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The artists are in a Catch-22 situation, the bigger ones more than the lesser known ones. Fans have sky high expectations of artists, given the sky high ticket price, and the level of admiration. I’d be fine seeing U2 without the extras. Let the music do the talking!

Would Maiden fans be pissed off if Eddie didn’t make an appearance? Probably, though all would likely be forgiven once the guitar opening from Number of the beast came on.

I saw Muse on the Drones tour, where they had a large number of these drones flying around the building. It was fun to watch, but I would live if the drones were grounded. I started liking these bands because of the music. The extras make for nice window dressing, but to me it’s not necessary.

In the cases where the stage show is part of the band’s identity (i.e. Flaming Lips), I’m sure the bands would suffer with regard to ticket sales. If the music is good enough, people will come.

Look at Bruce Springsteen. Look at the Cure. There is no need extras. They play for three hours. Nobody goes home saying “I miss the pyrotechnics”. They’re all saying “I couldn’t believe I got to hear that deep cut from 1986”.

I think this is something big bands should look at. Pare things down. Get back to the music.

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Oh yeah for sure. I’m an advocate of that. It should always be about the music. A global concert tour to a small pub gig, it all should be for the all the same thing. THE MUSIC. Thank you for sharing x

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