Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Tipper Sticker

I was driving in the car today with my two young sons when I heard the edited, "clean" version of a song that I know for a fact has multiple cuss words and references to sex in the album version (Akon's "I wanna love you"). Immediately, several thoughts came to mind:

  1. I was glad that it was the clean version so I wasn't forced to change the station because my boys are like parrots and repeat everything they hear. My 4 1/2 year old will also grill me for hours about expressions and slang he doesn't understand so I was happy I didn't have to explain some of the references... yikes!
  2. I was forced to think about the connection between intellectual freedom and "clean" versions of songs, and the ramifications/implications for the artists, their work, and their vision. As a mother, I was pleased that I didn't have to hear the explicit version of the song but as someone interested in intellectual freedom, I was struck by the artist's compromise to their original version.
  3. I was reminded of my younger days when buying a record with a "Parental Advisory Warning" or "Tipper Sticker" (so-called due to Tipper Gore's role in the label's development) was considered so risque that it was actually cool. I even remember some stores wouldn't let minors buy albums holding the label so my friends and I would stand outside the store asking strangers to buy them for us. Come to think of it, this scenario sounds a lot like an afterschool special where minors are trying to score cigarettes or alcohol...hhmmm, kind of makes you think.
  4. I had a vision of my boys standing outside a music store or library trying to "score" some explicit lyrics which is both sad and funny to me.
  5. Back to the thought about artists compromising or altering their music in order to gain airtime- is it about money, catering to the diverse needs of their audience, both, none of the above, forced by their label, it all depends? It is worth noting that the labels are voluntary and "The PAL Notice is an indicator that record companies, artists, advertisers, and online and mobile merchants voluntarily place on products, advertisements and services to better inform consumers and retailers, while also protecting the interests of artists in free expression and artistic creativity" (from the RIAA's PAL program website).
  6. Last thought I had, "I am definitely getting old...!!!"

No comments:

Post a Comment