An economic perspective on rock concerts and climate change: Should carbon offsets compensating emissions be included in the ticket price?
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Musicians, singers and bands can use their popularity to promote various causes and products, either through endorsements or more individual initiatives. Environmental activism is becoming more widespread as humans are trying to tackle and mitigate climate change. In this paper, we ask how best a band can compensate for the carbon emissions generated by fans travelling to its shows. We first report on the various “green” initiatives and practices of the music industry. We then focus on greenhouse gas emissions that result from tours and concerts since they are one of the largest environmental impacts generated by the music industry. We take the perspective of the artist or band wishing to internalize their carbon emissions and present a model of carbon offsets in the context of rock concerts, which amounts to the private provision of a public good. In our model, bands have the option to include offsets in the ticket price or to offer voluntary offsets. To illustrate our point, we present a field study conducted by a Quebec rock band at shows in Montreal and in Europe to show how the artists can reduce the environmental impact of their concert by buying carbon credits equivalent to their fans’ footprint. We show that at 1 % of the ticket price on average, the cost of carbon offsets is marginal and discuss the numerous challenges that arise for those artists wanting to engage in carbon offsetting.
KeywordsConcerts Climate change Carbon offsets Environment Green bands
JEL ClassificationZ11 Q54 Q51
We thank participants at the ACEI 2014 conference and SEA 2015 annual meetings as well as the editor and an anonymous referee for comments and suggestions. We also recognize the helpful contribution of Jérémy Laurent-Luchetti. All errors are our own.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Dupras is the bass player of the rock band Les Cowboys Fringants. Connolly and Séguin declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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