How the music industry can
join the Green Revolution…
Note from Eva—this is a monthly online newsletter from Musicians Atlas, which goes out to 90,000+ music industry insiders. The Editor's Notes are from the great staff at Musicians Atlas. If you haven't you can still sign on to the campaign to green the music industry, click here.
Attention Music Industry: Cut Costs, Not Trees
There’s a Green Revolution taking hold in the music industry – artists,
labels & manufacturers are discovering that going green is good for
the planet and their bottom line.
the April edition we explored the importance of preserving endangered
forests and responsible packaging options and asked you to get
involved. This month, Eva Hernandez of the Dogwood Alliance fills us in on the success of the movement and spotlights organizations and companies that can guide you to higher ground.
THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX
Since last month’s issue of AtlasPlugged,
Dogwood Alliance and others in the music industry have been talking
with CD packaging manufacturers about how using paper from endangered
forests is bad for their business and the environment – and the
benefits of producing more environmentally sustainable packaging.
While many artists can easily adapt to going green, most
corporations need to be convinced of the financial benefits and nothing
is more convincing than hearing from consumers.
Happily, music packaging companies are responding to consumer
demand, in part, because of all the amazing musicians that have signed
on to the campaign to help green the music industry.
With support from artists and their fans, we are now seeing a
real shift in attitude with several major companies making significant
changes in their business practices.
Bands like R.E.M., Moby, Michael Franti, and labels like Smog Veil
Records and even Warner Records have begun to do their part in making
sustainable packaging the norm. They see the benefits of adapting to
consumer demands and it’s important for us all to keep up the pressure
and show that there is a demand for sustainable packaging so big labels
like Sony and Universal will follow the lead.
Cutting-edge indie labels are also committed to reducing waste. Says Ryan Fox of The Good Life/Saddle Creek Records,
“It's a little disheartening to think that bands, artists, musicians
can unknowingly have goods manufactured in their names part of which
are the product of old-growth forests or unsustainable practices or
that contribute unnecessarily to waste. It's not uncommon for these CDs
and their packaging to turn out to be discarded ephemera for many of
the people who buy them. So our thought was "why not seek out the
option for bands to choose packaging from recycled and more easily
recyclable materials if they're available and affordable?"
Sustainable packaging is not the only issue affecting the music
industry. Many instrument manufacturers also see the benefit of going
green. For the past 15 years, C. F. Martin & Co, for example has
been exploring ways to continue making top quality guitars without
In a recent NY Times article, Christian F. Martin IV, the sixth
generation to run his family’s guitar-making business, discussed why
Martin Guitars is committed to using only wood from non-endangered
forests – “If I use all the good wood, I’m out of business. I have a
two-year-old daughter, Claire Frances Martin, and she can be the
seventh generation C.F. Martin. I want her to be able to get materials
she'll need just as my ancestors and I have over the past 174 years."
HOW TO JOIN THE GREEN TEAM
This is what you can do. Reduce your overall packaging and use 100% post-consumer recycled fiber board whenever possible.
If virgin fiber is necessary, insist that the fiber in your packaging
does not come from Endangered Forests and does not come from suppliers
that are engaged in converting natural forests to industrial tree
plantations. Also look for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified
paper products, the only certification system supported by the
international environmental community.
Going on Tour? Tap into the database maintained by SMART (Sustainable
Minded Artists Recording and Touring) to easily find the best resources
to help you profit from making your tour green.
Bands like Incubus have turned to SMART to help them reduce
their environmental footprint for their upcoming 40 city “Light
Grenades Tour”. SMART helped the band transform their entire operation
– from fuel to merch.
The band has announced that they are working with venues to use less
disposable materials and increase on site re-cycling efforts; and they
are using sustainable goods such as organic cotton and 100% recycled
paper for the tour merch.
To achieve their goal of reducing their CO2 emissions and become
"carbon neutral” they will be fueling tour vehicles with biodiesel
fuels and limiting vehicle idling at venues. Also they will transfer
the tour's remaining emissions via carbon dioxide offsets and encourage
fans to take action by providing information at shows. Check out www.enjoyincubus.com for more info and tour dates.
Going Green can be profitable for artists as well. It’s easier than you may think to join and benefit from the Green Revolution.
There are many Environmental organizations that can help you market yourself as a green musician
in a way that doesn’t make you sound like a “tree–hugging-hippy” (even
though some of us are!), but more like a smart and conscious musician
that knows how to use your influence to make the world a better place. And that sells.
Rock the Earth, who’s motto “changing the world one beat at a time”,
helps musicians make the green transformation and will connect you with
a community of active artists. Join this group and you can tap into a network of like-minded artists and their fans. This org. also does a lot of community outreach and even puts out a compilation series.
founded by environmentalist Lauren Sullivan and her husband, Guster
guitarist/vocalist Adam Gardner also has deep roots in the music and
environmental communities. Their goal is to promote environmental
sustainability by educating and engaging musicians and their fans. Reverb
bands on tour can harness the power of local environmental groups to
promote their shows in exchange for allowing them to set up tables and
pass out materials and petitions.
BIG STEPS – SMALL FOOTPRINT
Even studios are going green. Atlanta-based Tree Sound Studios whose
credits include Outkast, Elton John, Indigo Girls) and their label Tree
Leaf Records has committed to a number of environmentally friendly
- Offsetting 100% of their CO2 emission from 2006 onward. That means
that all albums produced at the Atlanta facility will be made with
renewable energy and be carbon neutral. With 5 fully functioning
studios 24/7 this is a significant step.
- Using biodegradable cleaning products, recycled office supplies, and LED and compact fluorescents where possible in studios.
- On-site organic garden
- Workshops on bio-diesel production, solar hot-water heating and water catchment to educate their clients and the community.
- Solar panels
- Four percent of all TreeLeaf Music profits will be given to environmental charities like Dogwood Alliance.
- InTicketing helps them plant a tree with every ticket sold and one
every day just because it feels good. Contact: 1.866.55.TICKETS
Editor’s Note II:
are just some examples of how the music industry is making a
difference. The industry and the environment are at a crossroads. If
every band, label, manufacturer, venue and promoter adapted just one of
these initiatives – collectively we could change the world.