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Billie Eilish hits out at artists who release multiple vinyl formats to boost album sales: “I find it really frustrating”

Billie Eilish has criticised artists who release multiple vinyl formats to boost album sales, calling the practise “really frustrating”.

The artist made the comments in a new interview with Billboard, where Eilish and her mother Maggie Baird discussed their history of environmental activism – and in particular, their work towards making vinyl more sustainable.

“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,” Eilish began, “which ups the sales and ups the numbers and gets them more money.”

After Baird interrupted to point out vinyl sales “counts toward No. 1 albums”, Eilish responded: “I can’t even express to you how wasteful it is.

“It is right in front of our faces and people are just getting away with it left and right,” she added, “and I find it really frustrating as somebody who really 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 f–king 40 different vinyl packages that have a different unique thing just to get you to keep buying more.

“It’s so wasteful, and it’s irritating to me that we’re still at a point where you care that much about your numbers and you care that much about making money — and it’s all your favorite artists doing that sh-t.”

Billie Eilish and her mother Maggie Baird speak onstage during Overheated, a one-off climate activism event presented by Support + Feed and Billie Eilish at Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace on August 30, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Artists producing multiple vinyl variants to increase album sales is a common practise; Swift’s 2022 LP ‘Midnights’ was sold in five different variants, eventually becoming the first album to sell better on vinyl than on CD since the 1980s.

Eilish’s own second album ‘Happier Than Ever’ contained eight vinyl variants of the record; however, each vinyl was made from 100% recycled vinyl with sugar cane shrink wrap. Mst vinyl releases will typically use “virgin vinyl”, which contains plastic resin, along with single-use plastic shrink wrap.

Baird went on to acknowledge the problem of vinyl sustainability was “systemic”, saying “you can’t fault an artist for playing the No. 1 game”: “I would love to see limits, like no more than four colors.”

The popstar concluded: “We’re all going to do it because [it’s] the only way to play the game. It’s just accentuating this already kind of messed up way of this industry working.”

There have been criticisms from music industry execs about the “hypocrisy” of artists calling for climate action whilst making physical records. Sir Robin Millar, who has produced albums such as Sade‘s ‘Diamond Life’ and Everything But The Girl‘s ‘Eden’, said he was “baffled” that “no large record company has had the backing of a big-selling artist to stop making physical records.”

“How can anybody stand up and say ‘save the planet’?,” he continued. “Artists are awful for hypocritical bandwagonery.”

Eilish has had a long history of advocating for climate action, having recently hosted the ‘Overheated’ climate action event in London last year with her mother.

Speaking with NME backstage, Baird told us: ““Everybody knows the clock is ticking. The truth is, touring is in jeopardy. The music industry is in jeopardy. If you don’t do it now, you’ll be forced to do it in the future.”

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