History of the Music Programme

We Make Tomorrow, credit: Ben Darlington

It All Started with Music

In 2007 we convened a music working group and in partnership with Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute. We published the First Step: UK Music Industry Greenhouse Gas Emissions report, calculating the carbon footprint of the UK music industry, which was then responsible for approximately 540,000 tonnes CO2e annually.

Influenced by the findings, we published the Jam Packed Audience Travel Emissions from Festivals report (2009), and in 2010 our Moving Arts reports explored the carbon impacts of bands, orchestras and theatre touring in the UK and internationally.

Key Initiatives from our History

The Green Escape at Great Escape 2017 – 2021

From 2017 – 2021, Julie’s Bicycle programmed The Green Escape at The Great Escape Festival for new music in Brighton. Asking – what is the most meaningful thing we can do on climate change? How can we create a supportive and empowering industry framework?  The Green Escape explored how different parts of the music ecosystem, from artists to agents, labels, venues, and promoters can collaborate to create a greener music industry, inspiring ambition and innovation. With a packed programme and even a sponsored bike ride from Brighton to London in aid of the cause.

Green Touring and Green Riders

In 2010, JB convened some of the leading music touring companies including AEG and Live Nation to look at the climate impact of touring and what the industry could do to address it. Working with key live music stakeholders, JB set out to understand the carbon footprint of UK bands touring and identify drivers and barriers to shifting touring models to align with international climate targets, resulting in Moving Arts: Bands. Culminating in a Green Riders campaign – calling on artists to take action to green their tours and ask every venue, partner, and supplier to work with them, to drive change.

We’ve since supported different artists and tours with Green Riders, worked with venues and festivals on Creative Green consultancy and certification including energy audits, and are delighted to see Coldplay’s commitments and the Tyndall Centre and Massive Attack’s recent collaboration take this conversation back up the agenda.

Take The Green Train: Europe Jazz Network 2014 – 2017

An initiative supported through the Creative Europe programme of the European Union to explore how the jazz sector can respond and create new networked responses in a rapidly changing environment.

EE Music 2013 – 2016

EE MUSIC was a pan-European project co-funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe programme of the European Union, aiming to scale up skills and knowledge within the live music industry on energy efficiency and sustainable energy management. Together with our partners (including the Green Music Initiative in Germany and Elevate Festival in Austria), we organised over 30 workshops and events in 24 countries; and mobilised hundreds of clubs, events and outdoor festivals to become part of a broader cultural movement towards a more intelligent energy future.

Digital Music 2010 – 2011

Together with a working group led by the Association of Independent Music, Julie’s Bicycle undertook research to show that shifting to digital promos was environmentally preferable to physical promos. See the How Green is my Promo guide. We also published a position paper to set out some of the emerging questions about the impact of shifting to a predominantly digital music market.

CD Packaging Campaign 2009 – 2010

Based on our research that suggested CD packaging was responsible for a significant proportion of the music industry’s carbon emissions, we convened a working group of music, science and specialist experts to scrutinise the science and business of CD packaging.

Audience Travel: Jam Packed 2009

Based on our research that suggested audience travel was a key emissions hot-spot for the live music industry, we convened a working group of greenfield festivals to undertake detailed research into the impacts of audience travel, and audience attitudes to potential ‘sticks’ and ‘carrots’ to influence greener travel Jam Packed Audience Travel Emissions from Festivals report (2009).

First Step and Music Working Group 2007 – 2009

Julie’s Bicycle convened an early working group of music industry representatives, working with the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University to pull together a carbon footprint of the UK music industry and identify pathways for the sector to align with the Climate Change Act reduction targets. Read the First Step: UK Music Industry Greenhouse Gas Emissions report.

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