The practice of music censorship has been observed for years now but still remains to be a contentious issue. It can stem from a law imposed by a government or voluntary censorship done by private individuals on their music and lyrics.
Since some songs played on airplays and some comments of radio personalities have gained the ire of listeners at times, censorship in the music industry has become commonplace. Some radio stations do their share by censoring in different forms like resampling, repeating, distorting and skipping.
However, this controversy still remains to be debatable. There are proponents and opponents expressing their views on its legality and relevance to society. Here are right of the pros and cons worth considering.
List of Pros of Music Censorship
1. Music can highly influence young children and adults alike and regulating it can provide balance.
Music is a very influential medium and can do so in a positive and negative way. Proponents of music censorship see it fit to ban songs with expletive lyrics like gangsta rap because of what most of this type of music implies. There are some lyrics that glamorize wrong doings and racism. By regulating the songs which are being played on the airways, people especially teens, will not be exposed to lyrics that have profanities and violence overtones.
2. It keeps the number of suicide attempts down.
People, especially some parents, are for music censorship because of several instances of suicide attempts committed by teenagers. One parent talked about a son who killed himself while listening to the music of Marilyn Manson. He also added that two of his son’s friends also did the same thing. With censorship, lesser attempts of suicide will be possible.
3. It limits the exposure of people to sex, drugs and violence.
Advocates of the censorship say that the music industry is so powerful that it is capable to produce songs which can entice the public to listen to materials which overtly advertise nudity, sex and drugs. Moreover, without censorship, irresponsible members of the industry which can include disc jockeys and radio program hosts will be free to play just any kind of music and air indecent content.
4. It cuts the power of record producers to come up immoral songs just to make money.
Many producers in the music industry are not in favor of music censorship because of the music business being a million dollar industry. Proponents are pushing for censorship because they know that if such law is imposed and implemented, these music moguls will be reluctant to produce songs for the sake of profit per se but be more careful to downplay words so as to keep their albums selling.
List of Cons of Music Censorship
1. It is not the true solution.
For some opponents, music censorship is not the solution. Instead, it should be literacy. They say that controversies are sometimes helpful because they can challenge individuals. If music is censored, they believe the challenge will be depleted. For them, the answer is to educate the people who listen to music about its message, particularly the children. Kids should be taught to understand what they are hearing, reading and seeing. This way, they will be given the chance to be critical of these things and be able to apply them in their lives.
2. It keeps children from the truth.
For some who oppose music censorship, they say they do not agree with hiding reality from people, especially children. By censoring music, they think it keeps the children from learning the truth about life. For them, some lyrics of the songs are harsh realities which should be accepted and overcome. If these real situations mentioned in songs are kept from listeners, they will not be able to practice certain skills in life like coping with challenges in life.
3. It is a violation of the First Amendment.
People oppose to music censorship say that this practice is a clear violation of the First Amendment which is about freedom of self-expression and speech. If censorship is made into law, it prevents artists from expressing themselves and conveying what message they want to get through to their listeners. They also point out that if censorship is meant to protect children from exposure from derogatory lyrics, they will not be prepared for things that happen outside of their homes. From their point of view, they regard censorship as a hindrance from doing so. They also added that children should be encouraged to express themselves and if there will be censorship in any form, be it music or poetry, these kids will not be able to learn self-expression since it is presented as something that needs to be censored.
4. It gives an impression that people are not mature and responsible enough.
Critics of music censorship say that people have the right to listen to the kind of songs they want. Also, they are the ones responsible to stop listening to songs they find too offensive or violent. They also believe that any individual above 18 years of age is mature enough to know what music to appreciate or not. And for children, parents should be the ones to monitor and keep their kids safe. They should take time to know what their sons and daughters listen to and read. Moreover, children will be learning about sex, violence and drugs from other means and at certain points of their lives. This is why for critics, music censorship is unnecessary.
Whether music censorship is necessary or not will always be an issue with contentions from different groups. Perhaps it is a matter left for the public to decide. Although there are songs which have inappropriate lyrics, there are also some which speak of the truth whether politically and socially. These are things that should stir the public’s awareness. Music censorship can be a positive thing if only it is done with limitations. Moreover, some artists and record companies already censor themselves. At the end of the day, the buying public is the one which decides if a song is worth listening to or not.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.