10 Tips to Help You Make Your Music Career More Sustainable

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Sustainable Music CareerSustainability & your music

[This article was written by guest contributor Jakob Barry.]

From practicing to performing there are many ways we as musicians can incorporate a more sustainable approach to the musical process.

For instance, while the digital age has posed various challenges for the music industry, from an environmental point of view it’s safe to say there is an amazing opportunity for musicians to make greener choices with greater ease.

The best example of this would be the simple fact that instead of releasing an album in a jewel case, music can be sold with all the album artwork through downloads which creates little, if any waste.

We purchase and share music like this all the time but the fact it’s environmentally sound isn’t something that usually draws our attention.

That said, when we as musicians make green choices they may not always be recognized, but it sends a special message to fans that while putting music into the world is our dream, we’re trying to impact the environment less.

So whether an artist’s talent is his livelihood, hobby, or both — consider some of the following ways where sustainability and musicianship meet, and how artists like you and I can go green every step of the way.

 10 ways to make your music career more “green”

1. Power strips: Tired of leaving a piece of equipment on when you thought it was off? Plug everything into one power strip so shutting down for the night is easy. Doing so protects equipment but also cuts pollution from power companies because the more demand they must meet, the more natural resources they burn.

2. Drafts: Another electrical issue is drafts in studios and practice spaces which cause central air systems to work harder to maintain set temperatures. For this reason, whether you are playing indoors in the heat of Jacksonville, Florida and need air conditioning or in the cool wintry air of Detroit and need heat, sealing drafts lowers electrical usage and improves efficiency.

3. Rechargeable batteries: Sometimes it’s impossible to use a piece of equipment without battery power so if you must, go with rechargables to minimize the toxic elements they leak in landfills.

4. Reuse: Whether gigging on the road or playing in the basement, musicians need to eat and drink. Carry a reusable water bottle and tableware to minimize the impact of disposable plates, cups, and other plasticware that are non-biodegradable and harm our eco-system.

5. Recycle: As musicians we go through sheet music, strings, packaging for various products, and a bunch of other items. Make sure to recycle whenever possible and if it’s something like a broken guitar cable think up a creative way to repurpose it —like tieing up and securing equipment such as mic or drum stands.

6. Packaging: If you’ve decided to print CDs, try to minimize the packaging waste factor by going with recyclable materials. Otherwise you could provide discounts for downloads.

7. Transportation: Regardless if it’s an extended tour or a show in the neighborhood, transportation is usually necessary. While hauling equipment takes up space, try to cut car emissions by traveling in fewer vehicles.

8. Publicity: There’s little reason to print mailings for snail mail delivery as they will all eventually find their way to the garbage bin. Social Media is the way to go for publicity and for little waste. Still, make sure to collect email addresses for more personal contact.

9. Web Hosting: You’d be surprised how much energy goes into servers at hosting companies. That’s why hosting your website at a company that tries to voluntarily adhere to certain environmental guidelines is a way to green your own web presence. For instance, HostBaby offset 39 tons of carbon emissions last year.

10. Label “eco-friendly”: Don’t be shy about all the efforts you are putting into being a more sustainable musician and label your products “eco-friendly.” Also, although living the lifestyle of a musician isn’t easy, when things start to pick up, giving a portion of the proceeds to a green project or center for sustainability is a great way to support the cause.


Jakob Barry is a green living journalist for Networx.com (and a musician). Networx.com helps homeowners save time, money and frustration by connecting them with home improvement professionals. From plumbers and roofers to heating contractors and handymen, Networx simplifies the process of locating a reliable professional.

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