Streaming media could have larger carbon footprint than plastic discs
#SuryaRay #Surya Digital music streams could harm the environment even more than compact discs – so green-minded operators should introduce caching, or even ship their entire catalogues on a single chip.
Those are two options posited by a fascinating MusicTank report on “the hidden cost of digital music consumption”, which examines energy used by the emerging cloud media access model.
“Streaming or downloading 12 tracks, without compression, just 27 times by one user would, in energy terms, equate to the production and shipping of one physical 12-track CD album,” writes report author Dagfinn Bach.
“Repeated streaming of individual tracks may not necessarily be a desirable long-term solution with respect to energy consumption for the life cycle of a sound recording.”
Bach forecasts global data traffic hitting 1 yottabyte by 2027 could require more than a fifth of the planet’s 2010 electricity consumption – something which “depends on sprawling server farms and a complex, energy- sapping network infrastructure”.
Spotify’s app already has a kind of built-in local cache to avoid the necessity to repeat song streams. Bach says “a ‘close-to-consumer’ cloud solution might be the most environmentally-friendly option” for online content delivery.
Cut out the cloud?
But he also moots more radical options for reducing streaming’s carbon footprint. A 1 petabyte drive capable of storing all the songs ever recorded could soon cost just $100, Bach says, observing http://dlvr.it/28LHQ9 @suryaray