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Cliff Hunt Headshot

Hybrids and Hardcopies

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Where are Paul and Bono when we need them?

While the rock stars arrived at the Grammy's in their hybrid SUVs, their record companies continued to deliver literally millions of hard copy, non-biodegradable promotional CDs to radio stations, music reviewers, and others throughout the US burning diesel and jet fuel in the process. If fact, that is the way the Grammy judges received the music they judged for this year's awards.

It's ironic, isn't it? This has got to change, and, slowly but surely the music industry is being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, as certain segments embrace the new green technologies to become more environmentally friendly.

It was the Canadian music industry that first led the world in eliminating the use of CD singles called CD Pros for delivering new music to radio stations and other promotional destinations such as magazine and newspaper reviewers. Now, Canada's JUNO Awards, that country's version of the Grammy's has gone green by transforming the entire music review and judging process to one that is entirely electronic, via a new and patented technology called DMDS.

In the past, music has been submitted by artists and record labels for JUNO Award consideration by the physical shipment of 12 CD copies, for each category, of their album and/or single complete with bio and a publicity photo to CARAS, the governing body, who in turn would package the submissions and ship them out to the 300+ judges across the country. Using DMDS to streamline the process, submitted music is digitally ingested into DMDS and CARAS then uses it to securely distribute the music and related promotional materials to the 300+ judges and more than 1700 members. These people then stream the music online or download it to be burned to CD or transferred to their iPods for review. Digital delivery protects the environment by eliminating the waste created by CDs and their packaging, which are made from many non-renewable materials, as well as the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the delivery of those packages.

The industry in the US has been very slow to embrace the 'new green technologies'. Most of the industry continues to service radio and other promotional outlets with CD Pros which are made from many non-renewable materials -- polycarbonate, lacquer, dyes and various metals including aluminum, gold, silver and titanium. With 200 billion of them, they have become a serious environmental problem. Once the CD is manufactured, it is packaged in a plastic "jewel case," bubble wrapped, and shipped many miles, burning non-renewable fossil fuel resources, polluting the environment and contributing to global warming.

Although an individual may keep a CD for 20 years, according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), compact discs have a four year lifespan and a 2 percent damage rate during the recording process. About 1 billion compact discs weighing almost 20,000 tons are discarded annually in North America, and they do not break down. This conservative estimate excludes discs with defects discarded by the manufacturing sector.

Enough is enough. If the Canadian music industry can be so pro-active, isn't it time for the US to jump on board? What is needed is for somebody to show some backbone and refuse to continue this ridiculous, antiquated system for delivering promotional music. I'm now calling on those that can make a difference. I'm calling on Paul, Bono, Bruce, Madonna, and others to take a stand, because you can. You have the power and can make a difference.

Jump out of your Lexus and Cadillac hybrids and demand that the Grammys move to electronic voting next year as they have in Canada, and demand that the next recording you send to radio be sent by a secure digital delivery system, and demand that radio only play music that is delivered electronically. That's all it would take.

Go digital... go green.

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Cliff Hunt is Chairman and COO of YANGAROO Inc.

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