Massive Attack teaming up with academics to map their touring carbon footprints

Massive Attack in concert at the Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland on January 28, 2019

The Bristol band has recently announced that they will collaborate with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to produce a study on the carbon footprint of the music industry.

The researchers will analyze data collected during Massive Attack's touring and recording schedule over a four-year period, with a particular focus on band venue impact, travel, production and audience transportation.

This commissioned study aims at providing information and guidance to fellow musicians, in an effort to reduce the negative environmental impact of the music industry in the light of the climate emergency.

Dr Chris Jones, a research fellow at Tyndall Manchester, told the Guardian that this new collaboration with Massive Attack might encourage different actors of the music industry to look at reducing their carbon emissions.

"Every industry has varying degrees of carbon impact to address and we need partnerships like this one to look at reducing carbon emissions across the board. It's more effective to have a sustained process of emissions reductions across the sector than for individual artists to quit live performances. It will likely mean a major shift in how things are done now, involving not just the band but the rest of the business and the audience," he commented.

In an op-ed for the British newspaper, Massive Attack frontman Robert Del Naja pointed out that the band has been trying to minimize its carbon footprint for the past 20 years, and even considered giving up touring altogether.

"In reality, however, an entire international roster of acts would need to stop touring to achieve the required impact. In a major employment industry with hundreds of acts, this isn't about to happen. Any unilateral actions we take now would prove futile unless our industry moves together, and to create systemic change there is no real alternative to collective action," he stated.

Massive Attack is not the only band who has recently taken action to raise awareness about the environmental impact of the music industry.

Earlier this month, Coldplay announced that they would not tour in support of their latest album, "Everyday Life," until they could ensure that the trek would be carbon neutral.

"Our next tour will be the best possible version of a tour like that environmentally. We would be disappointed if it's not carbon neutral. We've done a lot of big tours at this point. How do we turn it around so it's not so much taking as giving?" Coldplay frontman Chris Martin told BBC News.

Last October, Thom Yorke, David Byrne and dozens of other artists signed an open letter penned by environmental activists Extinction Rebellion, which advocates for "systemic change" in the arts industries to fight the increasing climate crisis.

"We live high carbon lives and the industries that we are part of have huge carbon footprints. Like you -- and everyone else -- we are stuck in this fossil-fuel economy and without systemic change, our lifestyles will keep on causing climate and ecological harm," the text reads.