Digital music to overtake CD sales in the USGoing paperless has been touted by some quarters to be part of an effort to go green. After all, since there is no printed media and eliminates the need for a truck to deliver your daily newspaper or monthly magazine to your area from the printing press, surely the amount of carbon footprint would be reduced? Not really, according to a rather fascinating MusicTank report concerning the “hidden cost of digital music consumption”, where it looks into the amount of energy required to power the cloud media access model.

MusicTank reports, “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. 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.”

Should forecasts of global data traffic arriving the 1 yottabyte mark by the time 2027 rolls around be accurate, that would be the equivalent of over 20% of the planet’s 2010 electricity consumption, which is something that “depends on sprawling server farms and a complex, energy-sapping network infrastructure”. In plain English, this is not the greenest solution possible and perhaps could end up being more detrimental than purchasing a CD off the shelf. What do you think of MusicTank’s report? Does it hold any water in your sight?

Filed in Green. Read more about .