30 Mar, 2024

Billie Eilish criticises musicians for releasing multiple vinyl variants

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Billie Eilish criticises musicians for releasing multiple vinyl variants

Billie Eilish has criticised the practice of musicians releasing several vinyl variants of the same record in order to drive sales and earn “them more money”, likening it to The Hunger Games franchise: “We’re all going to do it because [it’s] the only way to play the game.”

“I can’t even express to you how wasteful it is,” Eilish, 22, told Billboard in an interview about her push to run her career in a sustainable and less environmentally impactful way.

“I find it really frustrating as somebody who goes out of my way to be sustainable and do the best that I can and try to involve everybody in my team in being sustainable – and then it’s some of the biggest artists in the world making 40 different vinyl packages that have a different unique thing just to get you to keep buying more.”

The Rolling Stones released at least 43 variants of their 2023 album Hackney Diamonds with different coloured LPs and different artwork – although each version contained the same track list.

Taylor Swift’s forthcoming album The Tortured Poets Department will be released on four different-coloured vinyl editions, each of them containing a different bonus track to incentivise fans to buy all four.

Her 2022 album Midnights came in four different-coloured variants, each with the same track list – but the backs of each edition featured one quarter of a clock face which, combined with a separate wooden “clock kit” sold through her online shop, made a complete and usable clock.

Swift’s commitment to releasing vinyl variations has prompted backlash from some parts of her fanbase, who accuse her of exploiting their goodwill.

Eilish released her 2021 album Happier Than Ever in four vinyl variants – but they were manufactured from 100% recycled black vinyl, with coloured scraps for vinyl variants, and wrapped in a material made from sugar cane. Most vinyl releases use “virgin” vinyl containing plastic resin and come wrapped in single-use plastic.

Eilish said it was “irritating” that certain musicians “care that much about your numbers and you care that much about making money”.

Eilish was interviewed alongside her mother, Maggie Baird, who suggested that Billboard – the organisation that runs the US charts, in addition to the publication of the same name – impose limits on how many variants an artist can produce of any single release, “like no more than four colours. Or some kind of rules, because you can’t fault an artist for playing the No 1 game”.

Eilish is known for her attempts to run her career sustainably, including powering her festival sets from temporary solar farms installed nearby, and releasing fewer merchandising items that are of lasting quality. When she performed six shows at the O2 Arena in London in 2022, she persuaded the venue to serve only plant-based foodstuffs.

Her impact has also been felt in fashion. In 2021, Oscar de la Renta dressed Eilish for the Met Ball and she convinced the luxury brand to stop using fur. She has also worked on campaigns with Nike and Gucci to produce vegan versions of well-known products.

Source: The Guardian

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