Austep & Splendour on Green Music

Written by Maddi Georgiou, University of Technology, Sydney.
July 2010

The Australian music industry is dancing to a new beat and starting to hit all the right notes.

Being more environmentally friendly and reducing the carbon footprint of major industries is important and the Australian music industry is taking its first steps.

Musician and entrepreneur, Asher Christophers is one of the younger activists, leading the band (wagon) with a green vision for his online community, Austep Music.

Mr. Christophers said: “From a young age I have been a keen environmentalist, and this (going green) just seemed liked the natural step. We need to make changes in all industries, and music is my industry.”

Austep Music was launched in early 2010. It was established initially for the purpose of releasing compilation CD’s, however its response to the lack of green music services in Australia is what has made noteworthy.

Austep Music is an official member of the Green Music Alliance, a universal organisation founded in 2008 with the purpose of highlighting green alternatives, and growing a ‘green-aware online music community.’

Mr. Christophers explains however, that Australia is behind in the green music movement, with a lot more work required before it compares with London’s initiative “Julie’s Bicycle” and America’s “Reverb” – two programs concerned with research and spreading awareness of greener alternatives.

He said: “We need to catch up with the UK and the US and get the ball rolling here. The most obvious way to get green is planning gigs better and offsetting them, because live music is the biggest source of carbon emissions in the industry.”

One such live music event includes the festival over this July-August, Splendour in the Grass, for which Matt Morris is the environmental coordinator.

Matt Morris says that the festival has always had a longstanding relationship with climate change and is very green minded.

The festival has initiatives such as the Carbon Offset Ticket which addresses the issues relating to the emissions released from patrons travelling to the festival, which is the biggest carbon emitting component of any music event, 10 fold, according to the Sound Emissions website.

Working for organisations such as Sound Emissions and his own group, the Global Protection Agency, Mr Morris is clearly heavily involved in the Australian music industries environmental impact; however he is also aware of its ability to communicate with a large audience.

Mr. Morris said: “(Music) represents a really unique opportunity to gain some leverage into changing peoples opinions.”

“If an artist or a band member has something to say on a social or environmental issue than invariably their fans will consider that message … it’s very different from a politician telling us what to do.”

Written by Maddi Georgiou, University of Technology, Sydney.
July 2010