Cambridge MA (January 30, 2024)—Academia and the record business are joining forces to suggest practical solutions to reduce the environmental impact of live music events at every level, from pubs and clubs to stadiums.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Environmental Solutions Initiative (MIT ESI) will conduct a comprehensive study of the live music industry’s carbon with co-funding and support from Warner Music Group (WMG), Live Nation and Coldplay. The study will kick off with an initial research phase, resulting in an Assessment Report of Live Music and Climate Change, focused on the UK and US markets, which is anticipated to be completed in July 2024.
This report aims to develop a comprehensive assessment of the relationship between live music and climate change; identify key areas where the industry and concert goers can make tangible improvements to reduce emissions and drive planet-positive outcomes; and provide a detailed analysis of the latest developments in green technology and sustainable practices.
MIT ESI, a climate and environmental academic research and solutions group, will recommend scientifically informed actions and policies that can be implemented and replicated across the entire live music industry to reduce its environmental footprint and establish a sustainable future for live events.
Coldplay, which launched its current Music of the Spheres World Tour—which began in March 2022—with a pledge to cut emissions by 50%, has also made a world-first commitment to manufacture all physical records for its upcoming 2024 album from recycled plastic bottles. In June 2023, the band reported that it had reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the tour by 47% compared to its A Head Full of Dreams stadium tour, which ran from March 2016 through November 2017.
For its part, WMG is committed to lowering carbon emissions, reducing waste and aligning with global efforts to tackle climate change. The company created a large-scale release of Coldplay’s “re-vinyl” Music of the Spheres album made of 100% recycled vinyl raw materials in 2022. WMG will provide its industry observations, encompassing internal data and insights, to MIT for the report.
Fan transportation can be one of the top contributors to emissions related to live music. In 2022, Live Nation partnered with Coldplay and major public transportation providers to offer fans free or discounted rides to incentivize and encourage green travel. This initiative supported a 59% average increase in public transport ridership on show days across four US cities.