HomeEntertainmentBillie Eilish says criticism of 'wasteful' vinyl sustainability practices 'hasn't ruled anyone...

Billie Eilish says criticism of ‘wasteful’ vinyl sustainability practices ‘hasn’t ruled anyone out’

Billie Eilish attends the 96th annual Academy Awards – Credit: Sarah Morris/WireImage

In an effort to raise awareness about the music industry’s sustainability practices, or lack thereof, Billie Eilish is highlighting the ways artists – including herself – can avoid falling into the cycle of overconsumption. In a recent interview with Billboard, the musician called out the “wasteful” yet popularized trend of artists releasing multiple vinyl variants with minor differences in artwork or tracklisting to encourage more purchases. But the point of her criticism was almost overshadowed by speculation about whether she was subtly addressing anyone in particular.

“It would be so great if people would stop putting words in my mouth and actually read what I said in that Billboard article. I did not single out anyone, these are system-wide issues across the industry,” Eilish wrote in a statement shared via Instagram Stories this weekend. “When it comes to variants, so many artists are releasing them – including ME! Which I clearly state in the article. The climate crisis is happening now and it’s about all of us being part of the problem and trying to do better. Sheesh.”

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Eilish’s original comments focused on the scope of artists most engaged in these practices, and the driving force behind these multiple releases. “It’s some of the biggest artists in the world making 40 different vinyl packs that have something unique just to keep you buying more,” Eilish said. Billboard. “It’s so wasteful, and it irritates me that we’re still at a point where you care so much about your grades and you care so much about making money — and it’s all your favorite artists doing those things.”

Much of the backlash against the statement came from Taylor Swift’s fan base. Swift has released vinyl packs with different colors, covers and bonus content for her recent releases including 1989 (Taylor’s version), Midnights, and the next one The department of tortured poets. Swift has also taken heat for her private jet’s carbon emissions, making sustainability and environmental protection a sensitive topic for Swifties, who have been quick to come to her defense.

But musicians like Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran and more have also released multiple pressings for their album releases. Eilish himself has released at least a dozen Happier than ever. But she never claimed she wasn’t complicit.

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“It’s right in front of us and people are just getting away with it left and right, and I find it very frustrating as someone who is really trying to be sustainable and doing their best to engage society. everyone on my team to be sustainable,” Eilish added. “I was watching The Hunger Games and it got me thinking because it’s like we’re all going to do it because [it’s] the only way to play the game. It just accentuates the already fucked up way this industry works.”

Eilish, who spoke in the interview alongside her mother, Maggie Baird, explained her approach to promoting sustainability in everything from vinyl packaging (she has released a number of pressings made from recycled materials), transportation, food and, most importantly, her merchandise. “It’s about how it feels, how it looks and how it’s made,” she explained. “And so the problem is making sure that my clothing is made well and ethically and is made from good materials and that it is very durable and that it feels good and is durable. It will be more expensive.” They also reduced the amount of merchandise made for drops, Baird added.

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The hope, as they expressed, is that the little things will lead to big changes. But the industry often prioritizes profit over the planet and the people who live on it.

“We know from research that fans are more likely to take action if they believe the artist is authentic. I think that unfortunately puts a lot of artists off because they say, ‘Well, I don’t want to say I’m trying to do X because I’m not perfect at Y,'” Baird said. “That’s a barrier that’s really hard to break, especially with social media and the cancel culture and hate. The truth is, you just have to do it anyway. Artists can cast a huge shadow of influence. If you are not perfect, but you influence a lot of people to do better, that is multiplied hundreds of times.”

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