Live Nation, Warner Music, and Coldplay Partner With MIT on ‘A Comprehensive Study of the Live Music Industry’s Carbon Footprint’

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A live performance from Coldplay, which, along with Warner Music and Live Nation, today announced an MIT partnership. Photo Credit: Warner Music Group

Under a new partnership with Warner Music Group (WMG), Live Nation, and Coldplay, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Environmental Solutions Initiative (MIT ESI) is set to conduct a detailed “study of the live music industry’s carbon footprint.”

The Big Three label, the leading concert promoter, and the 27-year-old band disclosed their MIT ESI tie-up via a formal release today. With WMG, Live Nation, and Coldplay also co-funding and contributing information to the undertaking, the final report “will suggest practical solutions to reduce the environmental impact of live music events,” according to the involved parties.

While the study is, of course, only beginning, these practical solutions could well include ways to reduce the massive amount of litter left behind by attendees (and ultimately cleaned up by crews, sometimes with fuel-guzzling equipment) at music festivals such as Insomniac/Live Nation’s EDC, AEG’s Coachella, Glastonbury and many others.

And as research has found that alcohol manufacturing leaves a sizable carbon footprint, event organizers may have an opportunity to make progress on multiple fronts by abstaining from selling overpriced adult beverages altogether.

In any event, the study won’t focus solely on festivals, instead zeroing in on “every level, from pubs and clubs to stadiums,” per the text.

Following “an initial research phase,” the project is expected to produce in July of this year an “Assessment Report of Live Music and Climate Change,” centered particularly on the U.S. and U.K. markets.

That analysis will encompass “a comprehensive assessment of the relationship between live music and climate change,” pinpoint “key areas where the industry and concertgoers can make tangible improvements,” and break down “the latest developments in green technology and sustainable practices,” MIT ESI, Coldplay, and the mentioned music companies indicated.

Regarding the possible direction of the study’s suggestions, “fan transportation can be one of the top contributors to emissions related to live music,” according to the announcement message, further claiming that a 2022 Live Nation-Coldplay initiative factored into “a 59% average increase in public transport ridership” on the days of the group’s shows in four cities.

Throughout the study, Warner Music will provide MIT ESI with “internal data and insights,” and Live Nation is poised to “share best practices and solutions developed by Green Nation,” its sustainability division, per director of global sustainability Lucy August-Perna.

Warner Music-signed Coldplay, for its part, previously pledged to halve the emissions attributable to the ongoing Music of the Spheres Tour, with plans in place “to manufacture all physical records for” a forthcoming 2024 project “from recycled plastic bottles.”

Worth highlighting in conclusion is the added financial incentive Live Nation, as an equity stakeholder in canned-water business Liquid Death, has for spearheading certain ostensibly green changes. Liquid Death aims “to kill plastic pollution,” its website shows, and the brand has for some time been a fixture of Live Nation events.

The beverage company originally sourced its water exclusively from the Austrian Alps – before transporting the resulting products approximately 6,000 miles for sale and consumption in the U.S. – but established a production facility in Virginia last year, according to a Washington Post profile.