Streaming Audio Can Clean Up Your Music (and Protect your Kids' Ears)

Family Matters on 04.28.12
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Photo by aussiegall

Jump Someone's Bones

Remember when artists, who were really artists, sang songs with lyrics that were subtle? They would suggest they wanted to "jump someone's bones" in a clever way, rather than just coming right out and screaming it.

Do you remember hearing your parents use the term "jump someone's bones"? Well, I'm a dad now (10 years running) and explicit music lyrics (mostly cuss words) drive me up the wall. Not only do they show a lack of imagination (I'm talking to you Green Day), but they're bad for little kids' ears. Why should I have to listen to kids' music constantly? Then again, why should my two girls be exposed to F-bombs and such when I'm trying to rock out while doing the dishes? 

I've been collecting music for decades, and use a "starring" system in iTunes to keep from playing explicit songs around the kids. But that's a lot of work. And even then, it's not unheard of for dirty words to crop up on commercial radio, or the latest song I've downloaded off the Internet. 

I'm sure it's happened to you. Bands referring to women as the B-word? Heck, they even have two TV shows that use the abbreviated B-word in the title. 

Flip the Switch

Which brings me to streaming music services. I've been trying out several for months, including Spotify, MOG, Slacker and Pandora. I've been using Pandora most recently, because it has such a variety of content ... and an explicit filter. If you flip on the filter, it does a pretty decent job. Music is turned back into music. 

I found out about this the other day when I created a new station for "Flight of the Conchords." Before the music played, I was greeted by a message from Pandora that went something like: "This station includes songs with explicit lyrics. But you have the explicit filter on, so we won't play those. If you want to hear the explicit versions, turn off the filter." 

Victory. Some of the songs "bleeped" out the bad words; others were alternate versions, without the cursing.

Now I should mention that I contacted Pandora a while back about dirty words in songs, after a particularly ridiculous rant in a live Guns 'N Roses track that came on the "Hair Metal" station while I was ... doing the dishes. Pandora wrote back to tell me "we're working on it."

With the filter now in place, what can I say? Dads, parents everywhere, you're welcome. 

For the record, I'm not against Freedom of Speech. Go ahead, call me Tipper Gore. I just want to shield my kids as best I can from "inspired" musicians who think dirty words in music make them sound cool. They don't. 

What do you think about this? Other streaming music services have filters built in or are considering it. See the links for SpotifyMOG and Slacker.

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