Skip navigation

Five tips for a greener music scene – GMA in APRA magazine

APRA helps us get the message out.

The member magazine of APRA, Australia’s copyright collecting agency and the biggest music industry organisation in the southern hemisphere, has run an article from us on “Five tips for a greener music scene”.

Please click through to the APRA website to read it there and demonstrate interest!

Here’s what we wrote:

Five tips for a greener music scene with Tim Hollo, Green Music Australia

Thursday, 12 Mar 2015

Ten years ago, I wrote and recorded FourPlay’s third album, Now to the Future. With the support of our manager, we made a substantial effort to reduce the environmental impact of the record. 

Through the tour, I spoke with hundreds of people about the process and the feedback was fantastic. So many musicians wanted to do the right thing by the planet, but didn’t know where to start.

The seed of Green Music Australia had been planted. We needed an organisation to facilitate, organise and inspire the music scene to go green! We needed to foster a cultural shift that had caring for the environment at its core.

If it’s a cultural change we need, who better to help deliver it than musicians? We’ve been a part of every major movement for social change, from civil rights in the US, to feminism and Indigenous self-determination in Australia.  If musicians can start the process of reducing our own impact on the planet, we can lead the way to a greener world. 

Green Music Australia has already started. We’ve done research into how the music industry can ‘green up’ its act and how it can best help drive social change. We’ve held a Rock for the Reef gig in Brisbane, headlined by Ash Grunwald, Deep Sea Arcade and Ben Ely. We’ve built a website hosting case studies, how-to guides, campaign materials and more. Our supporters range from Gotye, to Katie Noonan, to Richard Tognetti. Now we need you.

1. Start by doing something

It’s trite to say that every journey starts with a single step, but environmental challenges are so huge that it’s easy to get put off. Our worst enemy is the idea that it’s too hard to do everything, so we shouldn’t do anything. So start by doing something!

Check out our website for ideas and tips. 

2. Refuse disposable water bottles

  • Buy yourself a high quality reusable bottle. Carry it with you and refuse plastic. 
  • In your drinks rider, explicitly state you don’t want plastic bottles. 
  • Ask for jugs of water or dispensers instead. This starts to create systemic change by making venues think about the problem. 
  • Make branded reusable bottles part of your merchandise. 
  • Get involved in our campaign to support venues and festivals in banning the bottle!

It’s no exaggeration to suggest that water bottles could easily account for one of our industry’s biggest impacts. In fact, 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are produced by water bottles each year in Australia. The waste ends up in landfill and our waterways, leaching toxic pollution into our soil and rivers. Do your bit to reduce this. 

3. Produce environmentally-friendly CDs and merchandise

  • Use cardboard cases instead of jewel cases. They’re not only the environmental choice, but they’re lighter to lug. Less stock gets damaged and they’re just so much more attractive!
  • Source organic and fair trade cotton t-shirts. Fans will pay more if you explain your choice. 
  • Try to limit plastic packaging.
  • Vinyl is very hip but also very toxic. There are some amazing ideas out there for making LPs on alternative materials.

4. Divestment: take your money out of banks that invest in coal, oil and gas

We’ve started a musicians’ arm of the campaign of businesses and individuals taking their money out of banks and investment funds that continue to invest in fossil fuels. Missy Higgins, John Butler, Rob Hirst, Nigel Westlake and many more have signed up. Our Amplify Divestment campaign has just helped the Australian Guild of Screen Composers become the world’s first music industry organisation to divest. 

5. Help us

So much of what Green Music Australia is looking to do focuses on venues and festivals. For example, rolling out rooftop solar, LED stage lights, zero waste policies and more. 

As musicians, you can help us achieve this by:

  • Spreading the word
  • Lobbying venues and festivals and studios directly
  • Playing a gig to support us
  • Taking our materials to your own gigs. 

Get in touch to find out more. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Continue Reading

Read More