Opinion: Is censoring music is okay?


Would you prefer to listen to an original song with explicit lyrics, or a radio-edit version?

In simple terms, censorship in music is when curse words or inappropriate lyrics are cut out to be replaced with family friendly words or phrases, sound effects, or eliminated with no replacement. Censorship is necessary and must be used on any inappropriate song lyrics, even if it makes the song “worse.”

A few song examples you can listen to that have had censorship used in them at one or more points in the song include Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You,” Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s get it started,” Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” The Kinks’ “Lola.” and so many more. Each of these songs have censored lyrics due to their language use, and with the censored lyrics, families are able to listen to the songs they enjoy without worrying about inappropriate language. 

Most of the censorship in music is done because of how it affects people, mostly children and tenagers. The use of inappropriate language can lead to children using bad words, not knowing what they mean of course, and could get them in trouble. 

People of all ages appreciate censorship in music. It allows young people to listen to songs that might otherwise get them in trouble with their parents. At the same time, they recognize that it has its downfalls too.

Leah Cuevas, 15, says, “I believe music censorship is needed due to profanity in songs. I don’t think their parents want their children to repeat what they hear on the radio. Besides that, I usually think censorship ruins the song.” 

Christina Marin, 31, says, “Regardless of what you censor, it has the same meaning. So it doesn’t exactly matter. To me, at least”. 

Yolanda Munoz, 59, says, ”Do you hear the music without [censoring]? Do you hear the words they are saying? Like, very inappropriate. No. I would never play [those] songs without it [censored] like that.”

For those who prefer edited songs, streaming services are making it easier to find that option. In a New York Times student opinion article, “How do you feel about censored Music,” Nicole Daniels explains new options for censoring song lyrics. “Music’s consumer landscape is now rife with family streaming plans and parental content-filtering,” Daniel writes. “For customers who set their devices to weed out explicit material, Apple and Amazon automatically substitute edited versions of songs when they are available, and skip them altogether when they aren’t.”

Even though censorship is for a friendly and useful purpose, many people believe that song lyrics should be left alone and played on the radio, regardless of explicit content in the song, simply because they believe it ruins the original when it’s changed.

This can be because many people listen to the original song on other music platforms that allow explicit language and get used to the original lyric. When it is heard in public, such as the radio, with censorship,  it will not be the same as listening to it with it’s original lyrics. 

For others, it may simply just sound unnatural and they could lose their interest in the song.

The same could be said for a person who finds their interest in the song because of the censorship, and their perspective of the song could be changed when they learn those are not the original lyrics. 

For those who prefer music without censorship, there are always the streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, TIDAL, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Soundcloud, and Google Play Music. And for those who prefer censored lyrics, Deezer, Slacker Radio, and of course, the live radio are perfect.

No matter how you look at the situation, it seems that as you get older, you wouldn’t want to hear words or language that you would have as a teenager. Teenagers will listen to anything and not care about the lyrics, as where adults care way more about what a song has to say and will not deal with inappropriate language used in music.

Music listeners of different ages have different preferences, but this will not change that censorship will continue to be used in songs now and in the future songs to come.  Even if radio stations censor music, they can’t censor people’s opinion about it.

Featured Photo: A screenshot of the Spotify account of Destiny Ramos Marin, displaying a song that has a warning of explicit content. (Destiny Ramos Marin/ Ethic Photo)

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