Introducing MUSIC x GREEN: directory for a greener music business


Today (Dec 20, 2019) I'm launching MUSIC x GREEN. 🚀

It is a directory to create more visibility for organisations and initiatives that make the music industry greener, less impactful on the climate and ecology, and more sustainable overall. 🌱

By making it easier to find and share best practices, organisations, products, and research, I hope we can accelerate the progress towards our sustainability goals.

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Why am I launching MUSIC x GREEN?

The environment is something I always cared about. I stopped eating meat in 2007. Whenever reasonably possible, I travel by land. In the midst of the forest fire crisis in Brazil earlier this year, I started going to the Fridays For Future rallies in Berlin. From small demonstrations with one or two hundred people, to bike rallies, to Extinction Rebellion's blockades, to a protest with over a quarter million people: every time I was inspired by young people taking a stand and demanding governments and corporations acknowledge the climate crisis and take stronger measures towards preventing further catastrophe.

My day-to-day is in music though and when I left IDAGIO, it was time to kick up my music innovation newsletter again: MUSIC x TECH x FUTURE. It is subscribed to by thousands of people in the music business and adjacent industries, and I have always used it as a means to put items on the agenda that I think are important and underdiscussed.

Sustainability had become one of them. I started researching it. I found out about the immense impact of tours, that audience travel often has the largest share in the greenhouse gas output of an event, and about the fact that music streaming puts a heavier burden on our climate than the CD business ever did.

But it wasn't that easy to find these things out.

I found news articles quoting each other and reusing the same data from 2008 over and over again. I found blogs talking about a star's initiative to get her fans to take climate action, but it didn't go into any detail nor talk about the results.

Then still it would take hours of digging through websites, publications, references by others, getting tips via email, etc. to find stuff out.

If I'm spending that time anyway, I might as well make sure other people won't have to do the same.

MUSIC x GREEN is where you can share projects, data, initiatives, organisations, professionals, case studies, and news about what's happening in the space of music and sustainability.

Right now, it has the form of a simple filterable database where everyone can submit and upvote projects, somewhat comparable to Product Hunt. With your feedback and input, it will evolve over time.

How did I build MUSIC x GREEN?

MUSIC x GREEN was made with Sheet2Site: a service that lets you build a website from a spreadsheet. I had been playing around with the idea for a while, but wasn't sure how to build it. I considered Wordpress, because 20 years of blogging (of which at least 12 with Wordpress) has made me rather familiar with the software. But it seemed to complicated and I wanted something simpler.

I wanted to get something up and launched ASAP, so I asked Twitter for good "#NoCode" tools for something like this. The next morning I reviewed the options and by the end of the morning I shelved over the 50 bucks to Sheet2Site and got busy.

The back of the website, where I enter all the data, looks like this and is stored on my Google Drive:

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I added and organised lots of the great work I was already familiar with and by the end of the day the site was ready. Now all I needed to do was wait for the domain name to be connected (I went for MUSIC x SUSTAINABILITY at first, but sustainability is annoying to type in URLs), write this blog post, ask some friends for feedback, and make sure I didn't have to do large edits taking the site down in its first days.

But the launch moment in my head was clear: Friday, at noon. The default rally time for Fridays For Future.

What's next?

First of all: now it's over to you. Please start submitting projects, initiatives, research, organisations, events. Let's gather everything in one place. Go to musicxgreen.com, and hit 'Submit a Project' at the top.

I wanted to 'start small'. For me it's important to get something out there, see how people interact with it, and feel the pressure of thousands of eyes while I improve things.

Ideas I'm currently considering are

  • More tags:
    • "New ✨" to easily find items added in the last x days.
    • "Products 🛍️" to find eco-friendly alternatives. I'm torn about this one, because I think we should basically buy less, not more.
    • "People 💁‍♀️" to highlight academics, professionals, and activists in the music and sustainability space.
  • Notifications:
    • Maybe a newsletter to stay up to date of new additions, perhaps once a month.
    • Something more automated like a Twitter feed.
  • Social?
    • I like the idea of adding some type of commenting system, although it's not (yet) supported by Sheet2Site, so may have to migrate for that.
  • Fix the images
    • Currently a lot of the images are hosted on third-party sites, including Twitter and Facebook. This is not so privacy-friendly, the images may be larger than they need to be, and there's a risk of them disappearing. Any developer who can figure out how to grab all these images, possibly run them through optimization like imgix, and then replace all the URLs in the spreadsheet with the optimized images? Ideally as a script that I can trigger every now and then when a significant number of items were added... Get in touch.

If you have suggestions, feedback, or questions, the best way to reach out to me is on Twitter: @basgras or send me an email.

Thanks for reading all of this! If this is important to you, consider reading and signing onto the music business' declaration of emergency.