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Billie Eilish hits out at ‘wasteful’ artists releasing multiple vinyl versions of records

Billie Eilish has shared her disapproval of major artists releasing “wasteful” vinyl variants of their records to encourage fans to buy multiple copies.

The two-time Oscar-winning singer-songwriter has championed sustainability throughout her career, and has made efforts to ensure her tours are as environmentally friendly as possible.

In a new interview with Billboard, Eilish, 22, responded to a question about some musicians releasing multiple versions of their albums, and admitted she found the practice “irritating”.

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

Eilish’s mother, Maggie Baird, was also in the conversation and noted that the multiple releases all contribute towards chart rankings.

“I can’t even express to you how wasteful it is,” the “What Was I Made For?” vocalist replied.

“It is right in front of our faces and people are just getting away with it left and right, 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***ing 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 favourite artists doing that s***.

Billie Eilish (Getty Images)
Billie Eilish (Getty Images)

In 2023, The Rolling Stones released at least 43 variants of their comeback album Hackney Diamonds. Each version contained the same track list, but came with different artwork.

Taylor Swift is another artist known for releasing several collectors’ vinyl versions of her records. In January, it was revealed that the “Anti-Hero” singer accounted for one in every 15 vinyl sales in the US last year.

Swift’s forthcoming album The Tortured Poets Department, due for release on 19 April, is expected to come with four different-coloured vinyl editions. With each version containing a different bonus track, it stands as an incentive for fans to buy multiple, if not all four.

Eilish’s 2021 album, Happier Than Ever, came in eight vinyl variants but used 100 per cent recycled black vinyl and shrink-wrap made from sugar cane.

Taylor Swift (PA Archive)
Taylor Swift (PA Archive)

In 2019, Eilish spoke about the green measures she’d be taking for her tour.

“We’re actually bringing someone from Reverb, this company that basically specialises in the best and most healthy and green ways to do everything,” she told US talk show host Jimmy Fallon.

“So there’s no plastic straws allowed, the fans are going to bring their own water bottles, there’s going to be recycle cans everywhere, because it’s like, if something’s recyclable, it doesn’t matter unless there’s a recycle bin.”

Her mother Maggie Baird has also noted the impact of David Attenborough on Eilish’s passion for sustainability.