Startup Stories: Music Sustainability Association


Starting point. Michael Martin, who runs two companies devoted to sustainability, says that the Music Sustainability Association (MSA) has been in the back of his mind for many years. “For 30 years, I’ve been the guy that has been doing sustainability in the music industry and introducing the concept,” Martin said. “Most established industries have a green association or a green subset group that helps that industry move forward around sustainability, and I thought that the music industry was now mature enough to have that as well. We want to make it easier for people to collaborate and work together and stop reinventing the wheel on sustainability.”

Earlier this year, Martin joined with others in the field to start MSA, officially launching it in October.

Early work. The organization is working to finalize leadership positions and organize committees to help identify best practices related to sustainability. “We are mapping out what resources are currently available in the industry, [and] we’re setting up working groups for key areas in the industry that need to be addressed: transportation, energy, quantification of impact,” Martin said.

Next steps. Ultimately, MSA would like to see more industry-wide cooperation on sustainability. “Instead of the individual silos, what we want is continuity across all different aspects of the industry,” Martin said.

For example, when artists go on tour, that tends to be a solitary, contained process. “Is it possible to have the sound, lighting, staging—instead of shipping it across continents—is it possible to have it reside in a continent or a state and have multiple tours work together on that?” Martin asked. “That’s the type of thing we’re talking about. That amount of energy expended moving the same stuff around the world is not good environmentally.”

(steved_np3/iStock/Getty Images Plus)


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