Music streaming could be more energy-intensive than CD production and distribution - and YouTube could soon use one percent of global electricity, says a MusicTank report calling for solutions.
Digital music streams could harm the environment even more than compact discs, says the report: “the hidden cost of digital music consumption”, which examines energy used by the emerging cloud media access model.
“Streaming or downloading 12 tracks, without compression, just 27 times by one user would, in energy terms, equate to the production and shipping of one physical 12-track CD album,” writes report author Dagfinn Bach.
Bach forecasts global data traffic hitting 1 yottabyte by 2027 could require more than a fifth of the planet’s 2010 electricity consumption – something which “depends on sprawling server farms and a complex, energy- sapping network infrastructure”.
Bach says “a ‘close-to-consumer’ cloud solution might be the most environmentally-friendly option” for online content delivery.