Billie Eilish covers public transit costs for LA fans, bolstering 'sustainable pop star' cred

Two photos: On the left, Billie Eilish smiles while holding up a blue vinyl record. On the right: An orange bus from LA Metro displays an electric sign that reads "What was I made for?"

Billie Eilish debuted her new album “Hit Me Hard And Soft” last night — alongside an unexpected collaboration with the LA Metro.

To celebrate the release of the new album, Eilish is hosting listening events in cities like New York City and Los Angeles, including live performances, as well as gatherings in venues where fans can experience the record for the first time.

A poster for Billie Eilish's "Hit Me Hard and Soft" listening party at the Kia Forum. The singer floats in a dark blue body of water.
Photo courtesy of Billie Eilish/Kia Forum

While her debut performance for the album was held in Brooklyn on Wednesday, thousands of fans flocked to another performance at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles Thursday night, where she encouraged fans to take public transportation or carpool to help reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

To incentivize this, Eilish partnered with LA Metro to make May 16 a “Fee Free Day,” so fans could ride without costs anywhere in the LA area. 

“Billie, a longtime climate activist, has partnered with Metro to provide additional shuttle service just for this event and is personally encouraging her fans to take transit,” an Instagram post from LA Metro shared.

A map of the LA Metro bus and rail system
Photo courtesy of LA Metro

While the Metro offered a number of helpful shuttle buses around the Inglewood area (where the venue is located), fans could take any number of routes from areas like the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys, or even San Pedro — all without spending a cent.

“If you’re new to our system or region, please keep in mind that our service area is huge,” a statement from LA Metro said. “Riding to the distant stations from Kia Forum can take 2+ hours. Plan ahead!”

LA Metro planned ahead, too, giving its buses a special makeover for Eilish’s big day. The shuttles that serviced the Inglewood area were adorned with Eilish song titles like “What Was I Made For?” and “Your Power.”

“Each message that appears on the bus headsigns is individually programmed and tested for the various displays on the different bus vehicle models,” LA Metro explained on Instagram.

These sustainable transportation efforts also come on the heels of Eilish’s announcement of eco-friendly vinyls for the new album. Although the singer is still releasing eight variants of the vinyl, they will all be produced more sustainably than traditional methods.

According to Eilish’s website, the standard black vinyl variant is made from 100% recycled black vinyl. The seven other colored variants will be made from ECO-MIX — a 100% recycled compound made of leftovers — or BioVinyl — which is a vinyl that uses non-fossil fuel materials and helps reduce carbon emissions by 90%.

Any packaging materials are made from FSC-certified recycled paper, with plant- and water-based inks.

A product image of Billie Eilish's blue vinyl record for "Hit Me Hard and Soft."
Photo courtesy of Billie Eilish/Interscope Records

Eilish spoke up about the ultra-consumption of vinyl collectors and musicians who release wasteful vinyl variants earlier this year in an interview with her mom, Maggie Baird, for Billboard.

“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 said. 

“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.”

Her live events — whether bolstered by free public transit, or run on clean energy — are where this action shines.

In 2022, Elish ensured that there was plant-based food in every arena on her “Happier Than Ever” tour. She then went on to help fund and produce two back-to-back climate summits in London called Overheated. And, in 2023, she ensured that her headlining Lollapalooza set was solar-powered.

“Recognizing sustainable design as an imperfect journey of efforts, Billie is using a range of solutions as she works with her team towards constant improvement,” her website reads.

Billie Eilish smiles while holding up a blue vinyl record. She wears her dark hair down and straight, has on a khaki button-up short sleeve shirt, and blue jeans.
Photo courtesy of Billie Eilish/Interscope Records

Many of these solutions are created in collaboration with nonprofit REVERB, which partners with musicians, festivals, and venues to make concerts more sustainable. Eilish and REVERB are also behind the Music Decarbonization Project, which funds shifts towards clean energy and greenhouse gas reductions in the music industry. 

“I think that the artist’s role is to champion [something] and say that’s what they want, what they believe in, and [that they] want to make it happen,” Baird told Billboard, pointing to the sustainability projects her daughter promotes.

“It’s the power that they have to say, ‘This is important to me, and it has to be a priority.’”

Header images courtesy of Billie Eilish/Interscope Records and LA Metro

Article Details

May 17, 2024 9:55 AM
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