Any kind of censorship raises eyebrows and initiates contentious debates. A world sans censorship may or may not be a better place. History has shown that censorship doesn’t work and it has never managed to accomplish any objective. However, a complete lack of regard to any kind of regulation hasn’t had desirable outcomes either. One has to tread a very thin line and a tricky slope to determine what one should really propagate. Personal preferences will always shape an opinion but it is worthwhile to consider the music censorship pros and cons before taking a stand.
Pros of Music Censorship
1. Regulates Lyrics and Innuendos
Music censorship is primarily about regulating the lyrics or the innuendos of a particular song, composition or album. It is possible to hurt someone’s sentiment, the feelings of people at large, the sensitiveness of certain groups or class of people and songs or lyrics that are in outright bad taste may dent the image of a society or country as a whole. Music is a form of reflection of who we are, what we stand for, what we want and what we have done. Any innuendo that doesn’t tick the realm of political correctness may have an adverse impact. For instance, an American band singing a song about Americans and painting the whole populace with a particular shade of color or depicting the nature of Americans as something that is not appreciable will make people of other nationalities and cultures form a wrong perception about a country.
2. Protect Kids from Exposures
Music censorship will be able to protect kids from getting exposed to words and even etiquette that they shouldn’t learn at a tender age when they cannot decipher what’s right and wrong. Many songs of the day have abusive words, sexual undertones and various kinds of references that kids should not learn or get exposed to. The only way to avert this is music censorship or self regulation by the industry.
3. Preserve the Moral Fabric of Society
Every society has a particular set of values. Just as society at large cannot dump its customs on an individual, an individual cannot go about doing or saying anything in a society. One’s dismissal or rejection of certain values doesn’t allow one to thrust a certain kind of value on others. Music censorship can maintain that balance where freedom of expression doesn’t affect the lives of others in any adverse or undesirable way.
4. Remove Obscenity and Vulgarity
Reduce the use or reference of violence and can ensure that the music industry has a paradigm to abide by that can make way for a better environment for everyone, especially kids.
Cons of Music Censorship
1. Compromises the Right to Freedom of Speech
This is debatable because simply because you have the right to say anything doesn’t mean you should say anything that hurts other people.
2. Cap on Creativity
When one is confined to certain ways of producing their music and expressing what they have to say, new ideas will not develop. One would be discouraged to think out of the box and one wouldn’t even get many avenues to express something the way one would. This is detrimental to music in itself as it would not evolve as a form of art or science.
3. Make Music Less Desirable and Popular
Music censorship will affect the music industry and by natural extension the economy. Censorship will certainly make music less popular if not unpopular as the entertainment factor will be reduced and people will be compelled to like certain kinds of music which someone sitting in a bureaucratic chamber will be deciding. People will not enjoy the music, there will be fewer artists, companies or labels will lose money, they would pay less tax and there would be fewer jobs.
4. Encourages an Underground and Uncontrolled Industry to Happen
Censorship of any kind or prohibition has always given birth to a new industry, the illegal and uncontrolled, shady underworld of bootleggers, traffickers and eventually organized crime. Music censorship will inevitably give rise to a new industry which will produce the kind of music that has been banned or is being regulated. People, including and particularly kids, will want to find out more about that kind of music and will go to great lengths to obtain the same. Many kids today reject abusive lyrics or any kind of music that is outright unacceptable in a moral sense. It is better to have our kids reject than to compel them to seek out the kind of music we don’t want them to get exposed to.
5. May Become a Political Tool
It may become a way to curb protest as music is often used to stand against certain legislations, to highlight societal or political problems, to discuss culture and to have a broader discussion on realities that matter.