Why is streaming music bad

Resource requirements: Streaming music is bad for the climate

Physical data carriers - whether CDs, console games, books or films - are in a downturn, instead streaming is increasing. But what effects does this have on the environment? A research team has now dealt with this question for music streaming, reports Technology Review in its online edition ("The Cost of Music").

The group around the musicologist Matt Brennan from the University of Glasgow, who worked with colleagues at the University of Oslo, dealt in their study with the economic effects of modern sound carrier sales. The researchers agree that music has become significantly cheaper since it is available free of charge as a subscription.

But that's not particularly ecological. Kyle Devine, junior professor of music in the Norwegian capital, thinks that the demise of CDs and records has reduced plastic waste from the music industry. "However, from a carbon emissions perspective, the move to streaming to internet-connected devices has resulted in significantly higher emissions." He relates this assessment to the entire history of music.

The reason for this is the infrastructure required for streaming - starting with the servers of the music companies, the network operators and ending with the end customer device. Brennan & Co. have calculated that the storage and processing of digital music eats up "enormous power and energy resources". To do this, they converted the plastic production required for the production of sound carriers into climate gas units and compared them with the streaming requirements. The result: CO2 emissions are significantly higher than in earlier times - even compared to the boom phases in vinyl and CD sales.

More on this at Technology Review Online:

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