The entertainment and media industries are evolving rapidly, throwing more music and videos in our faces every day. And we have more access to them than ever. Artists now have a greater struggle standing out from the rest but they have a variety of ways to reach their audience.
So how does an artist stand out? A common trend is obscenity. Recording “dirty” songs and producing shocking videos can really get an audiences attention. But it also leads to ethical issues. The FCC still controls what airs on TV. Therefore, networks like MTV censor the music videos they air in order to avoid FCC fines. But with no regulations on the Internet, artists can still send their racy creations to the general public.
Lately, a growing number of music videos have been banned from MTV and sites like YouTube, or they have been censored by age-restrictions or changing the lyrics. Rihanna is a current example. Her music video for her new single “S&M” has been banned in 11 countries and YouTube has an 18 and over age-restriction. As a slap in the face to YouTube, all of her young fans can just go to her website for the unflagged video, which shows her with whips, a blow-up doll and Perez Hilton on a dog leash. More on the story from MTVnews.
(Some videos banned in one way or another: “Alejandro” by Lady Gaga, “Hurricane” by 30 Seconds to Mars, “Born Free” by M.I.A, “Ride” by Ciara, and the list goes on…)
This situation brings up challenging censorship discussions. Some would say TV and certain Internet sites are stepping all over the First Amendment, while others see scandalous videos as a threat to younger generations. We need to keep in mind that the younger generations are growing up in an internet-era and many can navigate the web better than their parents. How should we integrate First Amendment rights with protecting young people from obscene entertainment?