U2 Considered Earth Destroyers

U2 traveled a total of 49904 km to give 35 shows, with an average of 1425 km traveled per show. That’s about 3707 pounds of CO2 per show.

(Sept. 7) — Justin Bieber’s place in the musical canon may be a matter of debate, but from an environmental standpoint, at least, he’s on the side of the angels.

Bieber is one of a number of artists — along with Jay-Z, Lady Gaga and the Georgia indie-pop band Of Montreal — to be designated an “Earth Saver” by a new app that measures a touring act’s carbon footprint.

The app, Earth Destroyers, calculates how many pounds of carbon dioxide an artist produces by touring. Using data from the tracking site Bandsintown, artists are classified as either good or bad for the planet depending on how far they travel between shows in a given window of time.

Sometimes the results can be surprising — like when U2, whose front man Bono is well known for his philanthropic and humanitarian work, turns out to be an “Earth Destroyer” at 3,707 pounds of CO2 per show.

The app is the brainchild of Paul Lamere, a director of developers for the Massachusetts music-software company The Echo Nest. Lamere created Earth Destroyers during the most recent Music Hack Day, an event held every couple of months where developers try to create new pieces of music-organization technology in a single weekend.

Reached for comment, Lamere cautioned that the methodology Earth Destroyers uses means its conclusions should be taken with a grain of salt. Specifically, he said, “I would not put a whole lot of stock into that CO2 per show [number] being accurate.”

The figure, Lamere explained to Surge Desk, was calculated based on an estimate of how much carbon dioxide a band would produce by flying to every stop on its tour. But a lot of artists travel by bus, and in their cases the numbers won’t reflect reality very closely.