Cut music's impact on climate and download your tunes

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Digital downloads have been blamed for taking away a vital or essential part of the music industry's profit model. However, compared to commerce in compact discs, downloads great for the climate, in some way at least, and even better if you leave them all on your PC or another storage device rather than burn them yourself to CD. I do, however, the latter, from MP3 to audio.

Get your latest Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, or classical, blues, etc., via the Internet, and you could cut the energy and carbon dioxide overhead by 40 to 80 percent over distribution of a physical CD, according to a recent report that was commissioned by Microsoft and Intel.

The savings come in getting rid of physical packaging, delivery, and the compact disc itself; the range of impact depends upon whether the customer burns the music to a CD.

If you walk to the music store instead of driving, however, the CO2 emissions are about equal with downloading and burning, say the researchers. But, can you walk to your music store? I could not to mine. The nearest that could sell CDs at a decent price is somewhere in the region of 14 miles away.

The power usage of the download, however, depends on whether you have high-speed Internet connection. With 56k or less on dial-up, aside from being slow, it also takes a lot more energy of your computer in order to process the download.

However, personally, I do see the download as a better option to the CD that is made, then cut, then packaged, the shipped and all that. And if one could buy entire ISOs of albums then, aside from the fact that I am burning that CD, as an ISO is a disc image, it would really make things simple. .

The same could also be applicable to movies and newspapers, etc., that is to say, downloading them.

With newspapers, downloadable in PDF format, it would save lots of printing costs and paper, and essentially trees.

In London the “Evening Standard” has recently, under its new KGB officer owner, become a free newspaper and I, although I do take the opportunity when traveling the Tube and such, of the free Metro and the Standard but would not, otherwise, buy a newspaper or take one, and would love to have proper access to the local newspapers online the same as I can get the Kent Observer on Saturday and the Kent on Sunday online and downloadable as PDFs. Sure this all ain't rocket science now.

© 2009