Billie Eilish Defends “Wasteful” Vinyl Variants Stance After Backlash From Taylor Swift Fans

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Billie Eilish wants two things: to reduce the impact her career has on the planet, according to her new interview with Billboard, and to not have her words twisted, according to a new statement she posted on Instagram.

"Okay so it would be so awesome if people would stop putting words into my mouth and actually read what I said in that Billboard article," Eilish wrote in a statement posted to Instagram Stories over the weekend.

Last week, the Oscar winner opened up about her personal sustainability initiatives — namely, how she produces vinyl. Her last album, Happier Than Ever, was made with recycled vinyl and sugar cane shrink wrap. For those not in the know, most vinyl releases use single-use plastic shrink wrap that does not biodegrade and virgin vinyl, which is a plastic resin, aka fossil fuels.

“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,” she told the outlet.

Eilish may have been referring to several artists like Harry Styles, Beyoncé, Olivia Rodrigo, and so many more who have released multiple versions of their albums on vinyl in the last decade — a number of fans and social media users took her comments as direct criticism of Taylor Swift, who, within the past year, released five colored variants of 1989 (Taylor's Version) and is currently selling five variants of her upcoming album The Tortured Poets Department.

“The dig at Taylor and other similar artists about charts and numbers was unnecessary and detracts from her original point," one user wrote.

“I wasn’t singling anyone out, these are industry-wide systemic issues," Eilish clarified in her statement on Sunday. “[And] when it comes to variants, so many artists release them — including ME! Which I clearly state in the article. The climate crisis is now and it's about all of us being part of the problem and trying to do better… sheesh.”

<cite class="credit">Screenshot/Instagram @billieeilish</cite>
Screenshot/Instagram @billieeilish

During her conversation with Billboard, Eilish expressed her frustration with the ecological impact of vinyl variants, calling out “some of the biggest artists in the world” for contributing to the waste.

“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," Eilish went on, "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*cking 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.”

And they do make a lot of money. According to a 2021 New York Times report, 17 million vinyl records sold in the United States that year “generating $467 million in retail revenue.”

It's not just the production of vinyl that's an issue of course, it's also how it's discarded. Because it is petroleum, when it ends up in a landfill, it is there forever (notably, recycled vinyl, while increasing the life cycle, can still have the same fate). It's also worth noting that Happier Than Ever came in eight different-colored album variants.

Records aren't the only sustainability move Billie Eilish has made, though. She's worn recycled fashion on red carpets — like her Gucci dress she wore to the 2022 Met Gala. She told Billboard, though, that when it comes to things like her merch, she has to “pick the lesser of two evils" by reducing the number of drops and using materials like recycled cotton.

“The problem is to make sure that my clothing is being made well and ethically and with good materials and it’s very sustainable and that it feels good and is durable," Eilish explained, "It’s going to be more expensive and that’s the thing: People can be upset by that.”

Editor's note: this story was first published on March 28 and updated on April 2, 2024.

Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue

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