All About Music Censorship The debate on music censorship is one that has plagued all democratic nations and will continue to do so. Music censorship has taken many forms down the ages and has swung from one form where parents are agitating for inappropriate words and lyrics to be removed from songs that their children are listening to, right down to songs that the state has banned because they speak of change and revolution and are seen as being anti-establishment. Surely no one will take offence to music censorship particularly if it comes in the form of a few inappropriate or explicit words being blipped out or some explicit music albums being marked with “Parental Advisory” stickers to warn parents about the nature of the content in these songs. Even the case of some stores removing certain music albums from the shelves if the content is seen as being inappropriate can hardly be seen as a dangerous type of music censorship. One such incidence of music censorship took place when a song that spoke of people guns from the shelves in Wal Mart and killing themselves was removed completely from Wal Mart. Music censorship in the United States The only reason why music censorship should not be encouraged or employed as a law is that it can be easily utilized by the state as a method to reinforce its own beliefs and obliterate others that it sees as harmful to its survival. Music censorship in the United States of America was used in the 1960s to remove songs that openly espoused leftist beliefs from the public domain. One band that fell under the censor’s axe was a fledgling group called The Weavers. A folk band that clearly paid homage to the leftist outlook, The Weavers found themselves unable to make music when their recording contract was cut short. As a result, they soon completely went out of business, and all as consequence of their political leanings. Music censorship, therefore, can be a double edged sword. While on the one hand, it can be used to remove inappropriate or explicit lyrics from the radar of the youth; if applied rigorously, it can become a suppressive mechanism in the hands of the state. Such a mechanism can be extremely damaging in a democratic society or a society where freedom of speech and opinion is respected. Music censorship, just like the censorship of any other art form is therefore, highly avoidable. It is best that the laws regarding music censorship do not become rigid, so that people’s rights are respected. It falls upon artists and musicians to respect and value the freedom of speech and opinion that they enjoy and not use blatant lyrics just for the sake of publicity or cheap popularity. If too many of these explicit songs find their way around, chances are that authorities will begin to take notice and even employ mechanisms to stop the circulation of such music. If things go on to the next step and rigorous laws regarding music censorship are enacted, democratic freedoms stand the chance of getting jeopardized in the future.
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