Is it Time to Make Music More Green?

Is it Time to Make Music More Green?

ByGroovy Green Jan 17, 2009

Cliff Hunt on the Huffington Post recently mentioned that it was time for the music business to get more green. Hell, he makes a convincing argument for ways they can both save money, and save the planet.

In a process that hasn’t changed much in decades, record labels send out CDs packaged with printed promotional materials to what are hoped to be the right influencers at radio stations. Radio station personnel, bombarded by these packages, end up not having the time to go through them all and many end up in the trash. Not only are those CDs extremely difficult to recycle, but it has been estimated that getting them to the stations consumes about 0.7 pounds of fossil fuel per CD, from production to shipping.

You’re kidding me right?  This is the process?  Mail out CDs and hope they get listened to?  Could there be a worse way to market your product?  It would be kind of like the Kirby man coming to your house and leaving you a vaccum hoping you would try it.  Really?

He goes on to suggest a better solution:

The only real viable option is digital delivery services that allow record labels to make their artists’ music available online in a secure medium. These systems alert radio stations to a song’s availability by e-mail. Those e-mails contain all the information that was once printed on paper. The files themselves can be downloaded directly into the radio stations’ music library ready for air if the song catches the attention of a DJ or programmer.

Not only is this more environmentally friendly, but it saves record labels cash. For the major and large independent labels, the cost of delivering a digital file with images and other promotional info is much less expensive than manufacturing a CD single with packaging and printed liners and shipping it via mail or courier.

I like the way this is sounding.  Can someone tell me why this doesn’t happen?  Other than the record labels being afraid to change anything?  He even mentions that it would benefit indie bands (which isn’t good for the labels but as a consumer I like) and to top it all of there’s this:

You may be surprised to learn that the Canadian music industry leads the world in this area, and has virtually eliminated the distribution of wasteful promotional CDs entirely. In fact, in Canada all four multinational major label groups have exclusively switched to digital distribution for all their promotional releases, preventing the manufacture and shipping of millions of ecologically harmful CDs and packaging. The Canadian industry has significantly decreased their environmental impact and saved on expenses at the same time!

It’s already being done!  Probably by the same companies since most music is produced by what, 5 labels?  This is nuts.  I can just imagine the desks at the radio stations look like the picture above, only 100 times worse.  If I was a radio station I’d be forcing this on the labels.