Hidden costs of streaming music

arj

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So as per the author, streaming, CD and Vinyl have a significant carbon footprint and by that so will cassettes and magnetic tape. and so will physical performances- Travel/power etc.(?)

BTW Would this not apply more to OTT platforms even more now ?
 

drkrack

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I came across this interesting article and was looking for the right place to share it. Hope this is the right place.


Whole premise of the discussion is defunct because it assumes that, If people are not Listening to streaming music ; they'll be indulging in less environmentally toxic pass times. I don't think that's a possibility, if they end up gaming or Watching and Forwarding Stupid Social Media Forwards, they'll be leaving an Equal if not larger carbon footprint than listening to streamed music. The pessimistic tone of the write up with a bias ensures that there won't be any substantial discussion other than writer's point of view.

I did research this topic few years ago, Class D headphone amplification with Single Board Streamer & media player (Forever Favorite Albums In Downloaded Format) with highly sensitive headphones is the best environmentally friendly way to listen to the music, if you're averse about listening to a well maintained Vinyl Collection with Manually Operated horn Gramphone player.
I agree with the writer on physical media and their harmful effects if poorly recycled. Probably brain chip as discussed by Elon Musk (Neuralink) here might be a more environment friendly initiative for music listening as well.

By the way, what's the Carbon footprint of a Forum Post? ;)
 

Ashenden

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Listen to music or not, we will always be a pain for the environment, with our quest for relentless consumption. The more pertinent question would be, will streaming services pay the artists well? The below chart (source) shows how less each service pays the artist. In India, it is much lower, at Rs 0.1-0.15 per stream (due to the lower subscription fees).

1600918465398.png

Streaming might be good for consumers for providing access to music, more inclusive. Indie artists are also likely to benefit from getting noticed. But, in the long run this payout model mayn't be the best solution for most artists (other than the popular ones).
 

raghupb

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I do agree with the anthropogenic aspects of music production/distribution and artists not getting their due.
But then, when in recorded history has the bard ever got what his/her art is worth?

Coming to the comparison of PVC, polycarbonate, or tapes the argument does take a very skewed view.
Say a 100,000 people buy an album in a particular format (of which they like only 70% of the tracks).
Streaming does average down the carbon footprint. You would need need the digital master stored safely with redundancy included.
With the appropriate use of SAN/LAN/WAN the same track can be dished out to 100,000 subscribers more effectively, carbon footprint wise.

One thing we can do to reduce the carbon footprint is stay with the widely popular 16/44.1 format with file compression (not DRC).
24/32 bits and higher sampling rates increase the size of stored/transmitted data disproportionately vis-a-vis rendered performance.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

shyamv

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I believe the whole debate about artists not getting their due from streaming platforms is blown out of proportions. In reality, artists today are able to monetize their music via streaming channels much better than the erstwhile vinyl/cd forms of distribution.

Recording labels, till a few years back, used to draw up artist contracts in such a way that all costs of recording, promotion, selling and distribution are deducted from the per-unit royalty fee paid to artists. So the artists end up with just a few cents for every Vinyl/CD album sold. Also artists were at the mercy of not just the music labels but also music distributors and retailers. And artists had no control over the distributors or retailers as these agreements were defined mostly by music labels not artists. I have witnessed this first hand myself during my fledgling attempts at recording and producing original music some 25 years back.

Streaming platforms has not only reduced distribution costs but also placed the power to chose the distribution platform back in the hands of the artists. Also their distribution reach cannot be beaten. To a large extent, the process of recording and distributing music has become democratized. Yes, these companies are extracting their pound of flesh but atleast there is something left for the fledgling artist.
 

moktan

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One of the finest thinkers I have read in the modern times is David Graeber who sadly passed away this month, on the 6th of September to be precise. His magisterial book Debt - The First 5000 years , explored the origins of money - a means to quantize your debt ( to friends and strangers , the King and the Gods) he says. His book also reveals the violence that underpins all social interactions involving money. Ever the anarchic he also wrote - Bullshit Jobs - A Theory.
Towards the end of Debt he writes something that I have empathized with, maybe as a result of my intellectual and real laziness.

On talking about human industriousness he writes - “The problem is that it is becoming increasingly obvious that if we continue along these lines (increasing global output of goods and services by 5% every year) we’re likely to destroy everything.”
He then concludes -
“I would like, then, to end by putting in a good word for the non-industrious poor. At least they aren’t hurting anyone. Insofar as the time they are taking off from work is being spent with friends and family, enjoying and caring for those they love, they’re probably improving the world more than we acknowledge. Maybe we should think of them as pioneers of a new economic order that would not share our current one’s penchant for self-destruction.”
 

DB1989

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One of the finest thinkers I have read in the modern times is David Graeber who sadly passed away this month, on the 6th of September to be precise. His magisterial book Debt - The First 5000 years , explored the origins of money - a means to quantize your debt ( to friends and strangers , the King and the Gods) he says. His book also reveals the violence that underpins all social interactions involving money. Ever the anarchic he also wrote - Bullshit Jobs - A Theory.
Towards the end of Debt he writes something that I have empathized with, maybe as a result of my intellectual and real laziness.

On talking about human industriousness he writes - “The problem is that it is becoming increasingly obvious that if we continue along these lines (increasing global output of goods and services by 5% every year) we’re likely to destroy everything.”
He then concludes -
“I would like, then, to end by putting in a good word for the non-industrious poor. At least they aren’t hurting anyone. Insofar as the time they are taking off from work is being spent with friends and family, enjoying and caring for those they love, they’re probably improving the world more than we acknowledge. Maybe we should think of them as pioneers of a new economic order that would not share our current one’s penchant for self-destruction.”
That’s quite thought provoking.
 

Analogous

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Whole premise of the discussion is defunct because it assumes that, If people are not Listening to streaming music ; they'll be indulging in less environmentally toxic pass times
I never thought of that!
David Graeber sounds like an interesting writer. I will look him up. Thanks.
 

shyamv

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One of the finest thinkers I have read in the modern times is David Graeber who sadly passed away this month, on the 6th of September to be precise. His magisterial book Debt - The First 5000 years , explored the origins of money - a means to quantize your debt ( to friends and strangers , the King and the Gods) he says. His book also reveals the violence that underpins all social interactions involving money. Ever the anarchic he also wrote - Bullshit Jobs - A Theory.
Towards the end of Debt he writes something that I have empathized with, maybe as a result of my intellectual and real laziness.

On talking about human industriousness he writes - “The problem is that it is becoming increasingly obvious that if we continue along these lines (increasing global output of goods and services by 5% every year) we’re likely to destroy everything.”
He then concludes -
“I would like, then, to end by putting in a good word for the non-industrious poor. At least they aren’t hurting anyone. Insofar as the time they are taking off from work is being spent with friends and family, enjoying and caring for those they love, they’re probably improving the world more than we acknowledge. Maybe we should think of them as pioneers of a new economic order that would not share our current one’s penchant for self-destruction.”

I am not a fan of this kind of thinking. This kind of fake socialism over the last 70 years has led to our country's present state. While greed and uncaring industry certainty is not good, being poor and lazy cannot be endorsed and glamorized! Rich subsidizing the poor and non-industrious will never result in any form of meaningful, broad-based progress.

Sorry for the rant! I will now get back to listening to Billy Cobham :).
 

Analogous

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I am not a fan of this kind of thinking. This kind of fake socialism over the last 70 years has led to our country's present state. While greed and uncaring industry certainty is not good, being poor and lazy cannot be endorsed and glamorized! Rich subsidizing the poor and non-industrious will never result in any form of meaningful, broad-based progress.

Sorry for the rant! I will now get back to listening to Billy Cobham :).
Hey Shyam,
all this time I thought we were the elites (fake socialists etc) that our fellow citizens voted against!:D
it would be rather hypocritical to complain you and I have not done reasonably well in life (given the state of the country over the past 70 years)
But let’s take this discussion offline as the forum norms discourage discussion of politics. I am back in town, talk to you soon.
 

shyamv

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Hey Shyam,
all this time I thought we were the elites (fake socialists etc) that our fellow citizens voted against!:D
it would be rather hypocritical to complain you and I have not done reasonably well in life (given the state of the country over the past 70 years)
But let’s take this discussion offline as the forum norms discourage discussion of politics. I am back in town, talk to you soon.

Sure. Let's take it offline. My comments are not political at all..It's sociological. People tend to conflate the two. And I said broad-based progress..not just you and I whose immediate problem is that their music system still does not sound as good as it should :) . Anyway, let's connect offline to discuss the later topic and maybe even the first one?? :)
 

moktan

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I am not a fan of this kind of thinking. This kind of fake socialism over the last 70 years has led to our country's present state. While greed and uncaring industry certainty is not good, being poor and lazy cannot be endorsed and glamorized! Rich subsidizing the poor and non-industrious will never result in any form of meaningful, broad-based progress.

Sorry for the rant! I will now get back to listening to Billy Cobham :).
He was not making a policy prescription and neither was that quote made for such reason. At the end of some magisterial five hundred pages , I think he was just giving his readers some respite in irony.
Though it is for a fact that are some serious discussions in which policy makers feel it may be a good idea to pay people to ...err ...do nothing.
 

Analogous

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I do agree with the anthropogenic aspects of music production/distribution and artists not getting their due.
But then, when in recorded history has the bard ever got what his/her art is worth?

Coming to the comparison of PVC, polycarbonate, or tapes the argument does take a very skewed view.
Say a 100,000 people buy an album in a particular format (of which they like only 70% of the tracks).
Streaming does average down the carbon footprint. You would need need the digital master stored safely with redundancy included.
With the appropriate use of SAN/LAN/WAN the same track can be dished out to 100,000 subscribers more effectively, carbon footprint wise.

One thing we can do to reduce the carbon footprint is stay with the widely popular 16/44.1 format with file compression (not DRC).
24/32 bits and higher sampling rates increase the size of stored/transmitted data disproportionately vis-a-vis rendered performance.

Cheers,
Raghu
Add to this list (on keeping the carbon footprint low and a bit greener): Buy used gear when possible, repair, restore too. This would fit into the reuse, recycle parts of the effort?
 

Analogous

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Back to music...

“You say you want a revolution,
Well, you know / We all want to change the world…
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out…
If you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait.”
- the Beatles, in 1968
 
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