Censorship in Music Industry

ESSAY TOPIC 2: CENSORSHIP AND MUSIC
In 1985, the Parent’s Music Resource Centre (PMRC) was formed to combat the perceived harmful effects
that some forms of popular music was having on America’s youth. In their published report, Rock Music
Report, the PMRC condemned what they claimed to be the five major anti‐social themes: rebellion,
substance abuse, sexual promiscuity and perversion, violence‐nihilism, and the occult. The organization
subsequently argued for and won a ratings system similar to the one that was being used by the film
industry. Although many of the PMRC’s claims were laughed off during the Congressional Hearings into
the perceived harmful effects of rock, a ratings system was nonetheless implemented. While some artists
benefited from having the Parental Advisory Warning label on their album covers, many others suffered
financial loses because key distributors like Walmart refused to shelve stickered releases. The only option,
therefore, was to acquiesce to the demands of the distributors by issuing “clean versions” of offending
releases.
Closer to home, in May, 2015, a group of concerned Torontonians issued a petition with 2500 signatures
that called for the removal of Action Bronson from the North by North East (NXNE) summer festival “on
the grounds that he produces hate speech, promotes violent misogyny and glorifies gang‐raping and
murder.” Festival organizers refused to back down, citing “when artistic expression is limited, freedom
and the evolution of ideas is often the casualty.” However, local politicians quickly weighed in and
successfully pressured festival organizers to remove the rapper from performing at the city‐owned Yonge‐
Dundas Square venue.
What do you think? Was this just cause for Action Bronson to be removed from the festival lineup, or was
this an overreaction? Is there a place in a democratic society for any kind of censorship? Use the above
questions to frame an essay on the subject of music and censorship. The superior submission will be
focussed, succinct, and will reference the following sources for starters:
Constitutional Law of Canada: Charter of Rights and Freedoms
http://www.constitutional‐law.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=30&Itemid=57
Shuker, Roy. 2008. “Pushin’ Too Hard: Moral Panics,” Understanding Popular Music, 3
rd edition.
London: Routledge. Chapter 13.
Liisa Ladouceur, Lisa. “The Petition to Ban Action Bronson Is About Misogyny, Not Censorship,”
Huffington Post (June 2, 2015).

Grade 50% of Final Mark
Submission Submit essay to Turnitin on Monday, November 02, 2020
Final Deadline Essays will not be accepted after 3:00 PM, November 02, 2020
Length 6‐8 double‐paced pages (excluding title page and bibliography)
Format MLA Style: title page, page numbers, footnotes, bibliography, etc.

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