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They say that music soothes the savage beast, but does it also wreck the planet?
Well, it’s fair to say that while the music industry is certainly not the sort of environmental disaster that the petrochemical industry is, it could do better.
Here’s how our handpicked panel of music freaks think that the industry could make music greener.
We appreciate that for some kinds of music, you absolutely have to use a blistering guitar, thundering bass and pounding drums but that’s not always true.
In fact, since the 1980s, groups like Einsturzende Neubauten have been promoting turning household items into instruments.
In fact, they even once made an album where all the instrumentation was made out of paper!
You don’t have to be as extreme as this but you could certainly incorporate a few milk bottles or orange boxes with a bit of creative thinking.
And, in reverse, instruments can also be upcycled when their useful life is over.
Why not turn those broken cymbals into bookends?
Or keep your hamster in the remnants of that old kick drum?
Whether you’re into Appalachian Folk Music or are aiming to make a splash in the Lo-Fi Music scene, there are easy ways to make your purchases go further and enhance your music.
Musicians that aim to make the world a greener place, need to start at home and show their activism.
And once you start with activism, it ought to branch out.
Musicians could demand less waste from the companies they buy their gear from and where possible, they should demand products that are easy to maintain, repair, and recycle and even to biodegrade when finally thrown out.
It’s possible to ditch wasteful batteries to use power adapters in their stead too.
And when it’s not possible, learning how to properly recycle or dispose of batteries to cause minimal environmental damage is a must.
We’ve looked at the sustainability of music festivals and we noted that things are definitely becoming greener in this space.
Depending on the leverage you have as a touring act, you could aim to go carbon-neutral by offsetting the tour’s emissions by planting trees.
You could certainly reach out to your fans and ask them to car share to get to the gig and cut down on their emissions.
Your social media presence can also point out the importance of not leaving a mess behind and cleaning up after yourself, it’s small changes that can bring big benefits in the long-term.
Your merch doesn’t need to be made by forced labour in China or come from overseas.
Local production of products using fair trade labour and sustainable manufacturing means that your fans can visibly support you without making someone else’s life a misery.
You can also include eco-friendly messaging on your merch if you want to get your fans involved in the efforts to make a better future.
Music is a wonderful thing and it brings great joy to all of our lives but for it to bring joy to the planet too, it needs to be greener.
Fortunately, it won’t take major changes in your musical style to make music more eco-friendly than it is today.
Upcycling, activism, eco-touring and improvements in merch are within everyone’s grasp, so why not start today?
The first time Nicholas went to a live gig, 31 years ago, it turned out to be an Iron Maiden secret gig and he became hooked on the music scene. He was one of the founding writers for Astro Zombie a heavy metal and new world techno-inspired zine and his interview with Rob Caggiano of Anthrax brought in over 300,000 readers. He’s based out of Southeast Asia now, but his love of music is as strong and diverse as ever.