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Billie Eilish Said Big Artists Are Being "Wasteful" For Producing Multiple Vinyl Colors For Their Albums

Billie Eilish Said Big Artists Are Being "Wasteful" For Producing Multiple Vinyl Colors For Their Albums

Billie Eilish is calling out the "wasteful" cash grab of making music fans buy multiple physical copies of their favorite albums.

Billie Eilish in a suit, holding an Oscar trophy
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Let's face it. The days of spending your allowance at Sam Goody to buy a signed copy of 98 Degrees' new album are long behind us.

The members of 98 Degrees sitting at a signing table with their CD

Once the music industry embraced streaming, it wholly dominated sales, accounting for "67 percent of the industry's [revenue]" in 2022. Eventually, they had to get creative by offsetting the popularity of digital sales with creative tactics like six limited-edition vinyl colors and Billie's not feeling it.

Billie and Finneas smiling holding their Oscar trophies
Handout / Getty Images

So, raise your hand if you or a loved one have purchased at least two of the Aquamarine Green, Tangerine, Sunset Blvd Yellow, and Rose Garden Pink vinyl for Taylor Swift's 1989 (Taylor's Version). You may be entitled to agree with Billie's recent takedown of the "irritating" money-grab tactics of the music industry.

Taylor Swift performs with a guitar, wearing a sequined outfit. Arms wide open
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In an interview with Billboard discussing sustainability with her mother, Maggie Baird, Billie called out how artists have figured out how to game the system and make more money with many "different vinyl packages."

billie hugging her mom backstage
Michael Kovac / Getty Images for Moët & Chandon

"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," Billie said. "Which ups the sales and ups the numbers and gets them more money and gets them more."

Billie Eilish in a blazer, shirt, holding a checkered handbag
Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

"I can't even express to you how wasteful it is," Billie said. "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."

Billie Eilish stands at a microphone in a textured coat and ribbon-tied blouse, smiling
Rich Polk / Variety via Getty Images

"It's some of the biggest artists in the world making fucking 40 different vinyl packages that have a different unique thing just to get you to keep buying more," she continued.

Billie Eilish at an event wearing a patterned headscarf, large glasses, and a quilted jacket
Chelsea Guglielmino / WireImage

"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 shit."

Billie Eilish wearing an oversized patterned jacket and tie at an award event
Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

Billie acknowledged that even she "played the game" as her latest record, Happier Than Ever, had different vinyl options like sage green, light blue, pale yellow, and more.

Four vinyl records and covers with an image of a blonde woman, likely a music artist, with different patterns and designs

It's a ridiculous tactic that preys on collectors, but vinyl records, CDs, and digital downloads, aka "traditional album sales," have to compete with endless hours of streaming somehow.

In the same interview, her mother attributed it to a systemic problem that would benefit from limits created by Billboard and other charts that could discourage artists from adopting this tactic.

"I was watching The Hunger Games, and it made me think about it because it's like, we're all going to do it because it's the only way to play the game," Billie added. "It's just accentuating this already kind of messed up way of this industry working."

Billie Eilish at an event wearing a beige sweater vest over a white shirt with lace detailing
Amy Sussman / WireImage

When Billie puts it into perspective that it's irresponsible and not sustainable to produce a dozen different colors of the same vinyl, it makes me reconsider my involvement as a consumer.

But if fans stopped buying Taylor's Midnights in six different colors, I'm sure the industry would find another creative way to get those sales up, and I would participate.

Billboard featuring Taylor Swift advertising her "Midnights" album available on vinyl and CD above a street scene with shops and a car
Mike Kemp / In Pictures via Getty Images

Read the full interview here.