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Billie Eilish Sets Eco-Friendly Trend With 'Hit Me Hard And Soft' Album Release

Billie Eilish's upcoming album, "Hit Me Hard And Soft," not only promises to be a musical sensation but also sets a new eco-friendly trend in the music industry with its sustainable production and packaging. Here's how.

William Drumm
Billie Eilish Photo: William Drumm

Billie Eilish has announced the details of what is expected to be one of the biggest albums of 2024. The artist has revealed that her third album, titled "Hit Me Hard And Soft," is set to drop on May 17. Notably, there won't be any singles released in advance, allowing fans to experience the entire album "all at once." Eilish has also outlined a sustainability plan for the album, aiming to reduce her environmental footprint.

Vinyl copies will be pressed onto recycled or eco-friendly vinyl, with all packaging crafted from recycled materials.

Moreover, the album will feature the use of raw, plant-based ink and water-based dispersion varnish. Instead of shrink-wrap, the album sleeves will be made entirely from recycled materials and designed for reusability.

Vinyl, being made from plastic, carries a significant environmental burden, often packaged in non-recyclable materials.

According to research from Keele University, vinyl records typically contain approximately 135g of PVC material, resulting in a carbon footprint of 0.5kg of Carbon Dioxide, reported BBC.

Speaking to Billboard magazine, Eilish, a vocal advocate for climate action, explained her motivation for addressing the issue.

"My parents have always kept me well informed and hyper aware that every choice we make and every action we take has an impact somewhere or on someone, good or bad, and that has always stuck with me," shared the "What Was I Made For" singer.

"I can't just ignore what I know and go about my business and career and not do something. That's just not how I was raised, or how I want to live my life."

Greg Cochrane, host of the music and sustainability podcast Sounds Like a Plan, hailed Eilish's announcement as a "significant step."

"We've seen examples of these type of releases before, but they've generally been limited releases or smaller batches, or from smaller artists," he told the BBC, "but a shift happens when an artist of Billie Eilish is popularity decides to adopt this - and not only adopt this, but also be transparent and vocal about her reasons for doing it."

He likened Eilish's initiative to Coldplay's efforts to make touring more eco-friendly.

"Like any community, music needs trailblazers and successful examples for others to follow. So it's really important that Billie and Coldplay and others are doing this while still creating music and experiences that people love."

Eilish's announcement follows her critique of artists who release numerous vinyl formats to enhance album sales, describing the practice as "really frustrating."

"We live in this day and age where, for some reason, it's very important to some artists to make all sorts of different vinyl and packaging," she said in an earlier interview with Billboard, "which ups the sales and ups the numbers and gets them more money."

Following an interruption from the singer's mother, Maggie Baird, who pointed out that multiple vinyl sales contribute to achieving number one album status, Eilish expressed her frustration, stating, "I can't even express to you how wasteful it is."

Nevertheless, Eilish has decided to release eight vinyl variants of Hit Me Hard And Soft. However, she ensured that the artwork and track-listing remain consistent across all editions, discouraging the need for multiple purchases.

The standard black variant will be crafted from 100% recycled black vinyl. The remaining seven colored editions will utilize either Eco-mix or BioVinyl.

Eco-mix is produced by recycling offcuts from other albums, regardless of their original color, resulting in each disc being unique.

For single LP colors, BioVinyl will be used, replacing the petroleum typically used in Polyvinyl chloride manufacturing with recycled cooking oil.

BioVinyl contributes to a 90% reduction in carbon emissions compared to traditional LPs, all while maintaining the same audio quality.

Furthermore, Eilish plans to produce cassette casings using recycled materials, and her tour merchandise will be fashioned from leftover stock, organic or recycled polyester or cotton, and non-toxic dyes.

Expressing her desire to see other artists embrace similar practices, the singer stated to Billboard that she hoped other artists would "adopt the same practices, and they will eventually become standard. It really is as simple as that".