Erso is a Kitchener-based environmentally-themed singer-songwriter duo comprised of Veda Hingert-McDonald and Keenan Reimer-Watts. They've come up with an eco-friendly, zero-waste alternative to plastic CDs, and are inviting other artists to adopt their idea.
When we first formed Erso, we wondered how we would sell our music. A lot of what we sing about has to do with nature and environmental degradation, and we are both environmental activists, so we knew we wanted to live out those values as much as possible as a band. Traditional CDs are made of plastic, usually come in plastic cases, and they aren't easy to recycle. Plus, CD sales have gone down a lot with more people using music streaming services.
When we recorded our first album in May 2019, we thought we'd just release it online, and not have any physical copies that (while still loved for a while) would ultimately end up in landfill. But we know people don't just buy CDs for the music. It's nice to have something you can physically hold, so we came up with Seedy CDs!
Each one has our album artwork printed on it, as well a code to download our album on Bandcamp. But the best part? They're printed on paper made with seeds of native pollinator-friendly flowers (Bird’s Eye, Clarkia, Black Eyed Susan, Sweet Alyssum, Catchfly and Snapdragon)! So after you download the album, you can plant it in your garden. We ordered them from a Winnipeg-based seed paper company called Botanical Paper Works. We got some "Double-Sided Petal Cards," which come already printed, as well as some sheets of 8.5/11 seed paper that we printed on ourselves. We chose the pollinator flower seeds, but other options include herbs or vegetables. Next time, we might choose vegetables - they can be planted in a larger range of places without risk of invasive species, and we love the idea that people could be eating the next Erso album!
One of the things we like about Seedy CDs is that though you are buying a beautiful object along with the music, we are encouraging people to practice the art of letting go by ultimately planting it. Besides, you'll end up with even more beautiful flowers that you can enjoy and so can the bees! We really like to thought that not only are we using a more eco-friendly way of sharing our music, but we're also leaving a trail of flowers wherever we go. We're also showing audiences we care about the environment, and this is a way to deepen the sense of community among our audiences.
Sometimes as an audience member, it's awkward to be put in a position where deciding between supporting an artist by buying their CD means acquiring more plastic that will ultimately become waste, so we also like that Seedy CDs avoid any kind of ethical dilemma for audiences.
As a bonus to benefitting the planet, and audience members, Seedy CDs also benefit musicians. While printing plastic CDs can be very expensive and sales aren't always very profitable as fewer people own CD players, Seedy CDs are fairly inexpensive to print and are a novel concept that people get really excited about.
Some other musicians are already starting to use Seedy CDs for their own music, and we're really excited about it! We hope the idea catches on and that more and more music will leave a positive impact on audiences as well as on the planet.
You can learn more about Erso, and contact them for more info at their website: https://erso-music.com