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Billie Eilish Explains the ‘Huge Responsibility’ to Make New Album ‘Hit Me Hard and Soft’ Her Most Eco-Friendly Yet

"If I don't use [my] privilege to do some good in the world, then what's the point?" says the superstar.

Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish

William Drumm

On Monday morning (April 8), the moment fans had been waiting for had finally arrived: Billie Eilish announced her forthcoming third album, Hit Me Hard and Soft, out May 17.

After changing her Instagram icon to blue last week and plastering teaser posters of lyrics across major cities, Eilish delivered a clever promotional stunt: adding her millions of followers to her Close Friends stories on the app. According to CrowdTangle, her social media savvy led to a major win, as the superstar gained more than seven million new followers in just a two-day span.


Of course, for the sake of promoting a new album, the timing couldn’t be better. But as Eilish and her team explain, there’s a much larger goal in mind with this particular rollout. “The fact that I have a far bigger audience and platform than I’ve ever had in my life means I can reach that many more people, and that’s such a huge responsibility and privilege to have,” Eilish tells Billboard. “If I don’t use that privilege to do some good in the world, then what’s the point?”

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“My parents have always kept me well informed and hyper aware that every choice we make and every action we take has an impact somewhere or on someone, good or bad, and that has always stuck with me,” she continues. “I can’t just ignore what I know and go about my business and career and not do something. That’s just not how I was raised, or how I want to live my life.”

To coincide with the album announcement, Eilish has updated her website’s homepage to include a sustainability tab, offering a transparent breakdown of the album’s many eco-friendly innovations when it comes to physical product, from vinyl and CDs to merchandise. It’s the culmination of her yearslong efforts to change the music industry from within, as she and her mother, Maggie Baird, have been fighting for more sustainable practices across the business from day one.

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Since we first met them, this [has been] the foundation of our relationship with them,” says Steve Berman, vice chairman of the newly formed Interscope Capitol Labels Group. Berman notes how it’s a team-wide effort across Interscope and Justin Lubliner’s Darkroom along with co-managers Danny Rukasin and Brandon Goodman of Best Friends Music. “We’re in this every day together,” continues Berman. “We are always looking at this through the lens of not only what we can do, but as the platform gets bigger, what are more opportunities to be focused on this and have impact and empower change?”

With Hit Me Hard and Soft, that comes down to doubling down on encouraging new physical production standards that implore the most eco-friendly practices currently feasible, with the goal of changing systemic and industry-wide practices that have been influenced by charting, retailer and consumer demands.

Hit Me Hard and Softwill have a limit of eight vinyl variants, all of which will become available on the same day and feature the exact same track-listing – and, most importantly, all of which are produced by using recycled materials. The standard black variant is made from 100% recycled black vinyl while the remaining seven colored vinyl will be made from ECO-MIX or BioVinyl. ECO-MIX is created from 100% recycled compound made of leftovers from any colors that can’t otherwise be used, resulting in a unique pressing of every LP, while BioVinyl helps reduce carbon emissions by 90% by using non-fossil fuel materials like used cooking oil or industrial waste gases.

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“It’s really an important responsibility to honor the work that Billie does and how she and her family see it,” says Berman. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s something we’re really proud of to be able to bring it to her fans in the cleanest way possible…So much thought and energy have gone into making sure that we’re being respectful of the fans and making sure that we have vinyl – it’s an important part of the connection to the music and the art.”

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And their efforts don’t end with the vinyl discs alone: the packaging for each variant is made 100% from post-consumer waste and recycled fiber pre-consumer waste; the ink is raw plant-based and water-based dispersion varnish; the sleeves are 100% recycled and reusable; and all goods are then packaged and shipped in recyclable shipping boxes.

And across cassette and CDs, no plastic boxes will be used. Cassette shells will be made from recycled shell pieces while CD packaging will replace jewel cases with softpaks that use 100% renewable fibers.

“We are doing everything we can to minimize waste in every aspect of my music,” says Eilish. “[My label has] listened to my concerns and helped me find the best way forward when releasing music and product into the world.”

“[Universal Music Group] has set global goals around emissions reduction and working with Billie is a great opportunity to co-create product-related solutions with her,” adds Veronica Dullack, SVP of global ESG & sustainability at UMG. “Over the last couple of years, we’ve worked together to support and enable her bold choices,” from recycled vinyl to merchandise, which is made from prior production dead stock, organic or recycled polyester or cotton and non-toxic dyes.

With the rollout and release of Hit Me Hard and Soft, Eilish and her team will continue to partner with Reverb as well – an organization she has worked with on numerous initiatives, from partially powering her mainstage set at Lollapalooza Chicago last year with solar-charged batteries to saving 8.8 million gallons of water by serving plant-based meals for artists and crew on her Happier Than Ever tour and more.

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“Billie, her family and her team don’t seem afraid to shake things up and question the status quo, especially when it comes to how the music industry does business…We’re excited that her new album is integrating cutting-edge production methods and materials,” says Reverb founder Adam Gardner. “Artists like Billie have tremendous power to influence and change the entire music industry and how it operates – and that’s exactly what she’s doing.”

Eilish has emerged as a leader when it comes to sustainability in music and she hopes “that others will adopt the same practices, and they will eventually become standard. It really is as simple as that.”

To view a full list of Eilish’s eco-friendly efforts surrounding the release of Hit Me Hard and Soft, visit her website.

This article was first published by Billboard U.S.

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