Streaming Music is not as "green" as you think

Fabiano Augusto
Fabiano Augusto
Jul 30, 2019 - Web
Streaming Music is not as "green" as you think

The Compact Disc has always been the music industry villain. We can say there was a reason for that. A recent study by University of Glasgow come up with some interesting facts.

Streaming Services CD

The media that made history along decades was producing 61 million kilograms of plastic back in the 2000’s. That number could double or triple during Cd’s golden age, but the study cannot give accurate stats due to a lack of research back in the 1990’s.

With Cd’s downfall, that number plummeted to less than 5 million per year in 2016. There is one point that Professor Kyle Devine, the mentor of the study, made it clear. Original CD’s can last upon 70 years if well stored and played it correctly.

Streaming Services Server

There is no way a study can measure who is taking care of the CD’s, and who is not.

That been sad, we have just entered in a very “green” and sustainable era of consuming music.

Wrong. The focus of Devine’s work is how better is streaming and downloading music for the environment in comparison with old types of media. Professor Kyle ended up finding some very interesting data. The studies measures the energy spent to stream music and videos, also to cool off huge amount of hardware.

Streaming Services Map

First, measuring energy in streaming services is something very complex, each platform has its own way of keeping and streaming data. However, Devine came up with a number, 350 million kilograms of are being generated with streaming music.

That number comes only from the streamer. The study did not count your home stereo energy, neither when you have to charge your smart phone.

All streaming services are trying to come up with more sustainable ways to stream music. Nevertheless, there is a lot to read between the lines here, according to Devine.

Streaming Services Spotify

Spotify, the most popular music streaming service, committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2022 and has touted the migration of its server operations onto the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Well, there is a plot twist here. Carbon neutrality does not mean that Google and Spotify are running on completely renewable energy or that their CO2 emissions are any lower. According to the Professor, what they’re doing is purchasing or investing in renewable energy at a rate that equals or matches the amount of energy that their using anyway.

Streaming Services Netflix

Devine insists he is not in an anti-streaming crusade; he is an active user of Spotify and Netflix himself. By his words, his study is "a simple exercise in transparency and accountability; to talk about things and think about them."