What’s the Environmental Impact of Your Music Project?

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As part of Kickstarter’s PBC Charter, we state that we will provide “recommendations and resources that help creators make environmentally conscious decisions on tasks, like shipping and packaging, that are common to the use of its services.”

Music is one category where there's a lot of potential.

This summer, Alexandra Criscuolo, Kickstarter’s Sustainability Fellow through the EDF Climate Corps, and Kickstarter’s Director of Music Meredith Graves sat down to discuss the environmental impact of fulfilling music projects. They found that, while there is definitely discussion about sustainability in the music space, there’s not a one-stop, convenient resource outlining the environmental impact of various music formats—specifically vinyl, cassette, CD, and digital.

“While in a long-term sense, we may find our most sustainable option something akin to the infamous Soviet X-Ray records (at least that’s what I’m hoping for) or cassette casings 3D-printed with recyclable material, those solutions are unlikely to come about so long as we avoid discussing the pros and cons of existing formats,” Graves says. “If we’re looking to music as an avenue to make a better world, we should always start with the planet itself!”

Together, they collaborated on an illustrated resource for music creators on Kickstarter and beyond. While they stress that it’s not a comprehensive guide, it is an introduction to learning about and discussing the environmental impact of your music fulfillment—and the beginning of a larger conversation Kickstarter is working to continue around sustainability.

“It is important to consider the entire lifecycle of your music fulfillment to determine the most sustainable option,” says Alexandra Criscuolo. Click here to download the PDF.

Right click to download the PDF
Right click to download the PDF

A few other sustainable music resources Alexandra and Meredith recommend:

A Greener Festival is a place to share some of the best green initiatives seen at festivals around the world.

The Sustainable Music Festival: Strategic Guide is a guidebook for festival organizers, artists, fans, and public authorities.

Fly Ranch is Burning Man’s 3,800 acre parcel in northern Nevada that is home to hot and cold pools, geysers, wetlands, and dozens of animal species. This land is being used by Burning Man as an opportunity to experiment with clean technologies like composting toilets, renewable power generation, and techniques for sustainability tapping local water sources.

Looking to launch your own Music project on Kickstarter? Head here.

    1. Missing avatar

      Scott Bickford on

      I would like to point out that the long life cycle of vinyl means that it is often bought and sold repeatedly over it's lifetime making it more sustainable. Historically jackets are often made of recycled paper and even the vinyl consists of post manufacturing waste. Some old plants even recycled unsold records! if an artists wishes to be more environmentally conscious I would suggest NOT pressing in the heavier 180 gram format, using jacket and liner material from recycled paper, using vegetable dye ink, pressing multicolored vinyl and finally and most importantly, releasing music that will be desired forever.