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Dark Side Of The Tune – are clouds really green?

A report from MusicTank has analysed the environmental impact of the growth in cloud-based content services, with surprising results. In ‘The Dark Side Of The Tune‘, author and music technology innovator Dagfinn Bach asks whether the energy consumption and resulting carbon footprint involved in streaming content online will be sustainable if and when cloud-based services go truly mainstream, comparing the energy used to operate these services with the energy required to provide a download, or even content provided in a physical format such as a CD or DVD – with a claim that streaming an album over the net 27 times can use more energy than the manufacturing and production of it’s CD equivalent, putting paid to the theory that web based music id inherently more environmentally friendly than hard copy manufacturing.

The HP sponsored Report hopes to kickstart a debate on the environmental impact of the growth in cloud-based content services and on the possible innovative solutions to reduce energy consumption with Bach saying  “Digital music is not distributed in an environmental vacuum. While CD and vinyl pressing plants are becoming rarer, the growth in data traffic caused by digital content services comes with its own risks and problems. I hope this report shines a light on the issue and opens an important debate, both in the music industry and beyond”.

The report can be found here (you need to sign up to the Music Tank newsletter) http://www.musictank.co.uk/resources/reports/energy-report along with a video interview with the author and there will be an evening event to discuss the Report at Westminster University’s Fyvie Hall on October 11th.