Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Cutting the cost

Credit to Coldplay for kicking off the conversation about live music's environmental impact, but Massive Attack are taking things a step further. The band announced in November that they were teaming up with experts at the University of Manchester's Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to analyse the carbon footprint of their tours and to set out strategies for minimising or even eliminating it.

As Robert Del Naja noted in the Guardian, regardless of their stature as an internationally renowned act, on their own they would be unable to make a meaningful difference: "Any unilateral actions we take now would prove futile unless our industry moves together, and to create systemic change there is no real alternative to collective action." Wholesale changes are needed; "business as usual ... is unacceptable".

Artists have a measure of control over the emissions created by their own travel and tour production, and could therefore make changes relatively easily. However, it will be significantly harder to effect a fundamental shift in the behaviour and habits of audiences and venues - but it's imperative that the recommendations that ultimately emerge from the research project address both, given that together they're estimated to "account for as much as 93% of all the CO2 emissions generated by major music events".

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