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MIT, Warner Music Group, Live Nation, and Coldplay Join Forces to Study Environmental Impact of Concerts and Provide Open-Source Solutions to Live Music Industry

Coldplay Perform In Copenhagen

Photo by Ole Jensen/Getty Images

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Environmental Solutions Initiative (MIT ESI) will conduct a comprehensive study of the live music industry’s carbon footprint, co-funded and supported by Warner Music Group (WMG), Live Nation, and Coldplay. The report will suggest practical solutions to reduce the environmental impact of live music events at every level, from pubs and clubs to stadiums.

The partnership will kick off with an initial research phase, resulting in an Assessment Report of Live Music and Climate Change, focused on the UK and U.S. markets which is anticipated to be completed in July 2024. This report aims to:

  • Develop a comprehensive assessment of the relationship between live music and climate change
  • Identify key areas where the industry and concertgoers can make tangible improvements to reduce emissions and drive planet-positive outcomes
  • Provide a detailed analysis of the latest developments in green technology and sustainable practices

MIT ESI, a leading climate and environmental academic research and solutions group, will utilize its expertise and resources to recommend scientifically-informed actions and policies that can be implemented and replicated across the entire live music industry to reduce its environmental footprint and establish a sustainable future for live events.

“I’m delighted that we will be working with our partners to co-create recommendations for a sustainable future in music,” said MIT Prof. John E. Fernandez, Director of the ESI. “As well as jointly funding the research, I applaud the spirit of openness and collaboration that will allow us to identify specific challenges in areas such as live event production, freight and audience travel, and recommend solutions that can be implemented across the entire industry to address climate change.”

Coldplay, who launched their current Music Of The Spheres world tour with a pledge to cut emissions by 50%, have also made a world-first commitment to manufacture all physical records for their upcoming 2024 album from recycled plastic bottles.

WMG is committed to lowering carbon emissions, reducing waste, and innovating to align with global efforts to tackle climate change. The company is already a leader innovating in physical audio product production and distribution with a large-scale release of ‘Re-Vinyl’ for Coldplay’s Music Of The Sphere’s album made of 100% recycled vinyl raw materials in 2022. WMG will provide its industry expertise, encompassing internal data and insights, to MIT for this report.

“This partnership represents WMG’s proactive approach to advancing industry-wide understanding of the climate impacts of the music industry and supporting our artists’ connections with fans worldwide,” said Olga LaBelle, WMG’s Vice President, ESG, Strategy Integration & Operations. “I’m pleased to be able to lend our scale and resources to further the industry’s understanding and approach to climate-positive outcomes.”

As the world’s leading live entertainment company, Live Nation is uniquely positioned to provide valuable insights that will benefit the entire live music ecosystem. The company’s Green Nation sustainability division has experience supporting top artist tours playing some of the largest stages on the planet, as well as readying its own venues and festivals to reduce carbon emissions, energy use, waste, and plastics.

“We’re proud to share best practices and solutions developed by Green Nation in this report,” said Lucy August-Perna, Director of Global Sustainability, Live Nation. “Helping accelerate sustainable practices benefits everyone who enjoys live music, while ensuring a strong future for the industry. We look forward to sharing the report with industry partners and fans alike.”

Fan transportation can be one of the top contributors to emissions related to live music. In 2022, Live Nation partnered with Coldplay and major public transportation providers to offer fans free or discounted rides to incentivize and encourage green travel. This initiative supported a 59% average increase in public transport ridership on show days across four U.S. cities.