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The Music Industry and Climate Change

By Kya Brogdon | 22 April, 2024

While there is still a long way to go, there are more and more artists, companies, and other music industry individuals taking action and making changes to their lives in order to benefit the environment, bring attention to climate change, and mitigate their impact. 

It’s no secret that the K-pop industry is notorious for the selling of multiple versions of albums and collectables, but in recent years many companies have taken steps in order to help reduce their ecological impact on the world. A big example of this is JYP Entertainment. In 2022, JYPE released their first ever ESG (short for environmental, social, and governance) rollout for how they plan to tackle the impact they have on the environment. In this plan, they spoke about changing over the materials used for printing to more eco-friendly options; low-emission coatings, FSC-certified paper, and soybean oil ink would be used for printing albums, biodegradable plastic and upcycling would be used for bigger merch items as well as pivoting to reusable merch items like clothing and tumblers. A bigger change across the whole industry is the mass introduction of “platform albums” - essentially, albums that only come with photocards and a QR code to get the digital version of contents you would get with a full physical album. This option is not only cheaper, but has way less material usage than the typical physical album. Companies like HYBE, SM, YG, and IST have followed this path as well, offering platform albums for purchase when new groups have albums released. While there are still many steps to go within the K-pop industry to be eco-friendly, these are steps in the right direction.

In a similar vein, singer/songwriter Billie Eilish has talked about her passion for the environment and for using recycled materials when it comes to making her vinyl records. Her interview with Billboard talks about how she uses recycled materials for her vinyl records, as well as shrink wrapped made from sugar cane rather than plastic. In 2020, Eilish’s mother and manager Maggie Baird founded Support + Feed, which aims to lower climate change and increase food security by encouraging the accessibility of plant-based food, especially at large-scale events like concerts. Eilish also partnered with REVERB, a music-centered environmental nonprofit, for her 2022 Happier Than Ever tour to save 8.8 million gallons of water by serving plant-based meals for the artists and crew. Eilish partially powered her headlining set at Chicago’s Lollapalooza last summer with zero-emissions battery systems that were charged on a temporary “solar farm” set up on site. Eilish is also known for being outspoken about taking commercial airlines when she flies in order to help reduce the carbon footprint put out by chartered private flights. 

Billie Eilish at WaterAid’s campaign for action to tackle climate change (Ben Roberts/WaterAid/PA)

In terms of songs that speak about the ongoing fight against climate change, singer/songwriter Hozier deals with these themes in many of his songs. Hozier’s activism surrounding all sorts of political movements is no secret, but he explores the apocalyptic aspect of climate change in his 2019 album Wasteland, Baby!. Hozier talks in an interview with NME about how during his hiatus between his 2016 tour and this album, he became a bit of a “news junkie” and focused a lot of his energy on the feelings around the Doomsday Clock moved forward by two minutes in 2018. He says; “It was kind of an intention of writing from an honest place and also trying to reconcile some of the worries and concerns and anxieties I had over what was just a real interesting time to be alive and a weird time to be alive,[...]” Wasteland, Baby! explores the themes of struggling to find personal connection with the intense times we live in, (that have only gotten more apparent as the years have progressed) and reflects Hozier’s own views on the things impacting our planet. While Hozier’s albums tend to revolve around the possible-apocalyptic ending of what climate change could do to our planet, those worries are rooted in what we are already seeing happen today. 

"Wasteland, Baby!" via Columbia Records

Here are is a playlist of some songs that speak directly or have ties to themes about the ongoing battle with climate change:


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