Guest essay by Eric Worrall
They would also like an effort to “nurture local artists”, to reduce the influence of foreign artists, so fans are less tempted to fly overseas to see live concerts.
‘Time to shake things up’: music industry confronts climate crisis as gigs resume
Huge concerts and nonstop touring mean the music business is in dire need of reform. Performers have begun to lead – but can their industry reshape itself as the world reopens?
Tue 27 Apr 2021 23.00 AEST
But a series of announcements last week, coordinated by the Music Declares Emergency collective, have challenged the idea that the industry is not taking the climate emergency seriously. After a uniquely difficult year for those in live music, perhaps this is an inflection point: can the recovery from Covid-19 be green?
One new idea – also announced this week, and affiliated with Brian Eno – is Earth Percent, which is aiming to raise $100m (£72m) by 2030 from the industry itself to transition towards sustainability. The proposal is for artists, companies and individuals to commit a small percentage of their revenue to Earth Percent, which will redistribute the money to organisations working on the climate emergency, including those focused on the music industry, such as A Greener Festival, Music Declares Emergency and Julie’s Bicycle.
Last Night a DJ Took a Flight, a recent report on the dance music industry, argued that tours could be routed more efficiently, local scenes and artists could be better nurtured to reduce the pull of foreign superstars, and exclusivity clauses (where artists can’t play more than one show locally) could be challenged.
Relentless touring – driven by low income from streams and physical format sales – is precarious and environmentally unsustainable, so music is taking seriously the idea of green jobs and a “just transition” (a term coined by the global trade union movement to prioritise workers’ rights and reduce inequalities). In 2020, more than 800 artists and creative professionals endorsed a letter to Oliver Dowden calling for a “just and green” cultural recovery from Covid-19, including the demand that all government funding for the arts is aligned with national climate targets.
…Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/apr/27/music-industry-confronts-climate-crisis-gigs-resume
Of course, even the measures demanded by artists don’t go far enough. So long as artists are producing new music, there is a risk fans will be tempted to add to their carbon footprints by travelling to see them perform.
So what we really need is for the government to fund self identified artists to sit on their butts and not produce anything, thus completely eliminating the potential excess carbon footprint their product might otherwise create.
The cost of this government funding could be partly offset by punitive taxes on high income artists who defy industry association climate edicts by continuing to produce and perform.