Press Release

Music Climate Pact: The Songs Emitting The Most Carbon, Revealed

With reports recently revealing that the major music labels such as Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group are uniting to pledge net-zero emissions by 2050 – the climate emergency within the music industry has never been more prominent.

With this in mind, Uswitch.com/gas-electricity was curious to find out the environmental cost of the world’s most popular songs. After investigating the carbon emissions of over 200 tunes based on Spotify data on play count, duration, and the total number of streams, they can now reveal all!

The results:

#

Song

Artist

Number of streams

Total carbon emissions (tons)

Trees needed annually

1

Heat Waves

Glass Animals

842,133,398

3,072

128,019

2

good 4 U

Olivia Rodrigo

1,053,582,036

2,868

119,480

3

Kiss Me More

Doja Cat (ft. SZA)

857,843,096

2,735

113,948

4

Beggin

Maneskin

752,455,682

2,432

101,336

5

Bad Habits

Ed Sheeran

677,858,022

2,390

99,568

6

MONTERO

Lil Nas X

1,109,814,648

2,335

97,285

7

Leave The Door Open

Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak)

628,987,635

2,326

96,935

8

STAY

The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber

1,066,974,185

2,312

96,315

9

INDUSTRY BABY

Lil Nas X & Jack Harlow

703,436,577

2,278

94,931

10

Pepas

Farruko

453,271,347

1,988

82,846

11

traitor

Olivia Rodrigo

488,776,255

1,712

71,321

12

Happier Than Ever

Billie Eilish

350,688,037

1,601

66,726

13

Save Your Tears

The Weeknd & Ariana Grande

509,312,580

1,486

61,929

14

Need to Know

Doja Cat

430,358,723

1,384

57,684

15

Levitating

Dua Lipa

367,358,544

1,143

47,660

Uswitch.com/gas-electricity/ discovered that Glass Animals’ hit ‘Heat Waves’ has emitted the most CO2 (a whopping 3,072 tonnes), taking a staggering 128,019 trees to compensate for those emissions generated. Despite being the fifth most-streamed song of all analysed, the length of this pop success (3min58sec) contributed to its high carbon footprint. As a result, the hit would need 26% more trees planted annually to compensate for its emissions than fellow rock band Maneskin and their song ‘Beggin’ (101,336 trees needed annually) which places fourth.

In second is the song of the summer, ‘good 4 U’ by Olivia Rodrigo with a total of 2,868 tonnes of carbon emitted from the whopping 1,053,582,036 number of streams on Spotify – 115% more than her other success, ‘traitor’. It would need 128,019 trees planted annually to compensate for the carbon emissions of ‘good 4 U’,67% more trees than ‘traitor’, which places 11th (71,321 trees needed).

Doja Cat’s song featuring SZA ‘Kiss Me More’ has emitted the third most amount of carbon at 2,735 tonnes. The hit would need 113,948 trees planted annually to compensate for the staggering amount of carbon emitted, – 97% more trees planted compared to another one of her hits– ‘Need to Know’ which places 14th (57,684 trees needed annually).

Baby Shark has NOT emitted the most carbon amongst the top kids’ songs

Uswitch.com/gas-electricity/ furthered their analysis to determine which popular children’s songs had emitted the most carbon. They can now reveal that How Far I’ll Go from the Disney film Moana has emitted the most at 954 tonnes of carbon, resulting in 39,759 trees planted annually to compensate for the emissions. In comparison, this song has emitted 1,302% more carbon than fellow Disney song ‘Lead the Way’ from Raya and the Last Dragon – which places third and has emitted 69 tonnes of carbon.

Surprisingly to most, Baby Shark misses out on top spot and comes in second place, having emitted 52% less (452 tonnes) carbon than How Far I’ll Go in first place. In total, Baby Shark would need 18,816 trees planted annually to make up for the emissions, a staggering 645,614% more than the remix ‘Baby Shark Monster Truck’, which has emitted just 0.07 tonnes of carbon from its Spotify streams.

Please refer to the full study https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/the-songs-that-have-caused-the-most-carbon-emissions/ for more information 

Methodology:

  1. Uswitch.com/gas-electricity/ sought to determine the estimated carbon footprint of over 200 popular songs – including Christmas hits and children’s songs.
  2. Billboard.com Top 100 Chart* was used as a suitable seed list for the world’s 100 most popular songs. Chart rankings are based on sales (physical and digital), radio play, and online streaming.
  3. A seedlist of the most popular Christmas and children’s songs was collected from high authourity articles.
  4. Following this, song duration and play count were collected from tthe Spotify API (application programme interface) and Open Spotify (Desktop) respectively for each song within our sample.
  5. Proceeding the collection of data, total carbon emissions were calculated by using the Carbon Trusts revised emission estimates of hourly video-on-demand streaming. This states that approximately 55g of CO2 is emitted during every hour of online video streaming. It must be noted that carbon emissions of video streaming are assumed to be equivalent to emissions from music streaming for this study.
  6. The total song emissions are calculated as 55 divided by 3,600 (emissions per second) multiplied by each song duration in seconds (emissions per stream) multiplied by total play count (total emissions).
  7. Subsequently, Uswitch.com/gas-electricity/ extended the analysis to estimate the number of trees required to compensate for the CO2 emissions generated from each song. These estimates are based on an assumed rate of carbon absorption at 24kg CO2 per tree annually, and an average of 500 trees per hectare in Europe – according to Encon.
  8. Number of trees required to absorb carbon emissions are calculated as total song emissions (g) divided by 1000 – to get song emissions in KG – divided by 24.
  9. All data was collected in November 2021 and is accurate as of then.

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Bethany Surridge of Journalistic.org

Photo by Kyle Loftus from Pexels

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