Study Says Streaming Music May Have Harmful Effects on the Environment

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A study has found that music streaming may have more detrimental effects on the environment than physical formats. A team of researchers from the University of Oslo and the University of Glasgow discovered that streaming music online has a higher environmental impact than using physical media like CDs and records. The researchers compared the carbon emissions produced from manufacturing physical formats with those generated from storing and transmitting audio files. They found that although shifting from physical formats to streaming significantly reduced the use of plastic, it also led to higher greenhouse gas emissions. The assessment of emissions from the music industry revealed that before the era of online streaming, manufacturing physical formats produced around 140 to 150 million kilograms of greenhouse gases. However, when streaming became prevalent, emissions surged to over 200 million kilograms in the United States alone. Associate professor Kyle Devine, the study’s lead author, said that people have the notion that streaming music has little environmental impact. However, the study disproved this by showing the negative effects of data centers on the environment. Streaming services use data centers to store music. These centers operate on massive amounts of electricity and continuously produce heat, generating a large carbon footprint. According to Matt Brennan from the University of Glasgow, the objective of the study was not to stop people from streaming music. Instead, it aimed to encourage consumers to be more appreciative of the costs of listening to music and lead them to look for more eco-friendly ways to enjoy it.

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