Thursday, October 31, 2013

What is Really Coming Out of Your Speakers

By Jack Newton (Flickr: Hipster) , via Wikimedia Commons
Inappropriate music and music videos can have a negative effect on its listeners and viewers. It should be regulated before being put online or published. Some songs or music videos are not explicit or inappropriate but others are. “Inappropriate” is a word that can be interpreted in many different ways. One of the ways is not appropriate, not proper, or suitable. In this case we are looking at how music and music videos can be not appropriate or not suitable for its viewers. According to an article from research has reported that exposure to violence, sexual messages, sexual stereotypes, and substance abuse in music videos might produce significant changes in behaviors and attitudes of young viewers. This brings up a point, how should music be regulated so that viewers who are too young or viewers who should not be watching the video or listening to the song are not doing these activities?

On a blog about the effects of music on its listeners, many people argued that music does not have a negative effect. One post from a blog on this issue reads, “Kids understand the difference between right and wrong. There is no way that music can affect a kids perspective on life.” Yes this is an opinion but it brings up a good point. If music does not have an effect on kids then why do kids exposed to these inappropriate videos and songs show more mood changes and changes in behavior? One idea that I believe is a major player is that viewers, especially teenagers and kids, see these artist as role models. In many cases these artist are not the perfect role models parents want their kids to be looking up to. In an interview with Macklemore, a local Seattle hip hop artist, he talks about how music artists influenced him personally.

The song "otherside" talks about substance abuse and especially the abuse of cough syrup. Here is also the song that he talks about. As you can see from the interview these artist have a major effect on kids. Now with that said sometimes the influence can be positive but in many case such as Macklemore’s it is negative. Where are these kids being influenced negatively? The main source is music and music videos. A 2003 report revealed that three in four 16-24 year olds watched MTV. MTV has the highest percentage of videos showing usage of alcohol and smoking. So 75% 16 to 24 year olds are watching music videos that are showing usage of alcohol and smoking. The Kaiser Family Foundation did another survey among 2760 adolescents that showed that watching television and music videos that shows the usage of alcohol and drugs had an increase of risky behaviors and alcohol use. All three of these facts are related to show how teens consume these inappropriate ideas. As seen here the main source for adolescents is MTV. But what is the main source of actual music for them? Radio or downloads is among the top of the list. But those two are not clean either. "Sex, alcohol, drugs, and profanity are easy to find: just turn on the radio. During the summer of 2009, the top 20 songs were full of such references." From June 10 to July 22 [2009], 29 songs were listed on the top 20 airplay charts as posted by Mediabase. An astonishing 69 percent of the songs made at least one reference to sex, alcohol, drugs, or contained profanity. Nearly half (46 percent) of the songs contained sexual lyrics and 31 percent of the songs referenced drugs or alcohol. Profanity occurred in 41 percent of the songs. Those are high numbers. Shouldn’t the radio be full of music that sends a good message to kids instead of glorifying inappropriate content? I believe so. Many things have been put into place to keep kids from viewing these songs or videos. Like for example on Youtube some videos you have to confirm your age to watch. Also on some radio stations words and cut from songs. 

Unfortunately this is just a start. There is a lot more that needs to be done to try and clean up our media. Putting age requirements for viewers to watch music videos or encouraging artist to not put inappropriate content in their music. It is up to use to make these changes though. Do we want kids growing up with these inappropriate ideas? I think not. From this article I hope I have showed you a different side of the media and convinced you that inappropriate music does have a negative effect on kids.

Update: November 15, 2013

Hello wonderful world of the internet! It is me again. Here to wrap things up with a little reflection on my experience writing, commenting, and researching this blog topic. I am sure we have all seen the news headlines ranting and raving about certain music performances and music videos and how inappropriate they are. Well Inappropriate music and music videos can have a negative effect on its listeners and viewers. It should be regulated before being put online or published. This needs to happen but on the flip side you do not want to limit the artists. You can not take away their freedom of speech through their music. Personal I enjoy music that tells a story or reflects on past events in ones life. How do we make sure that music is either changed or censor without taking away from the quality of the music? This was brought up in my comments by SiestaMan27. I believe it was a very good point. How do we do this so that it will last in the long run? Once I was presented with this question I did some research. To my surprise there was very little on what should we do but when trying to find articles that showed that inappropriate music had a negative effect the research was easy due to the amount of articles on that topic. Interesting? I think so. The facts are there but the solution is not. Is it up to us to find the solution? From the looks of things I believe so. What to do though? I say start at the source of the music, the artists. Lets encourage the creation and writing of positive and appropriate music. Are we being good digital citizens if we are encouraging the creation of this inappropriate music by posting it on youtube or liking the song online? All we are doing is encouraging and asking for more. Send an email to an artists, post a comment on their Facebook or Twitter account, or create a blog on this topic. All we need to do is ask and hopefully we will receive what we need.


  1. Great blog, FI-Jiber! This topic is one that is still very popular and controversial in society. I thought you had great facts which really helped to drive the message, and you had some good suggestions at the end as to how we should fix this (most people forgot). However, do you think there are any less temporary solutions? Censoring is definitely helpful, but do you think that is the key to solve this problem? Do you think popular artists like Macklemore could come out with more songs with a positive message? How effective would that be? Is this a problem for the artists, or for us as listeners? I enjoyed reading this, and I'm looking forward to hear what you have to say

    1. Dear Thing4, Thank you very much to for commenting on my blog post. To answer your questions I’ll start with saying there are many actions that can be taken. Hopefully none of them are only temporary. Censorship of songs hopefully can and should be occurring especially when the song is broadcasted on the radio to listeners of many ages. You can not force artist to not write songs that have explicit or inappropriate. That could create a conflict with freedom of speech. For more details on freedom of speech see click here to visit Lovely Park’s blog. To add to that artist should be encouraged to produce music with a positive feel or meaning to there music. But artists should not be bribed into this. This issue should be a problem for both the listeners and the artists. That said there should be some collaboration on the topic. How is that going to happen? It is up to use to bring this to the attention of the artists. Thank you for leaving comments and reading my blog. Sincerely, FI-Jiber.

  2. Great blog! This is a pretty prevalent topic in today's society. Often times it seems as if artists push the boundaries between what is decent and what is not, because they gain publicity for it. Censorship is a viable option but I believe that people should also be able to express art in the way in which they wish to express said art. Age regulations can be easily bypassed as well. Although these are good short term solutions are there any real long term solutions? Great blog! Keep up the good work FI-Jiber!

    1. SiestaMan27 for your comment. I agree with you on how artists push the boundaries for publicity which in many cases is happening. Here is a link to a blog which is about whether the government should censor music. With censorship it is difficult because you want the artists to still be able to express themselves and show you who they are or their story through their music. At the same time you do not want the listeners to be negatively influenced. Finding a long term solution for this issue will be very hard. There are many ideas to help stop this negative influence through music. In my personal opinion it is up to the people to bring this to the attention of the artists. Thank you again, sincerely FI-Jiber.


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