Musical Responsibility: Do we have a responsibility when it comes to music?

There is regularly much discussion about the controversial nature of the art and antics of particular musicians in the public eye. We watch as these so-described controversial performances, lyrics and music videos are flashed across all forms of media, from fashion and gossip magazines to the national and international news.

I have read posts and tweets and comments both supportive and against this behaviour and have seen many responses and comments from other celebrities on the inappropriateness of these antics as well as overheard gossip between friends about what this or that celebrity has done now ... "OMG!"

But although they may be out there, I have not heard one person truly ask “What makes people think to behave in this way?”

  • "Is there something wrong here that needs to be addressed?"
  • “Is there something out of sorts or out of balance in our society that this can become an acceptable medium of expression?"
  • "Is it that more, or some sort of support is needed for people in the public eye?”

Are we just enjoying the gossip, the conversations and distraction at another and or others expense? Instead of asking the real questions of what is going on? ... We can say they were asking for it, but it is us who are talking about it, and with no call to action.

We see and feel that there are many things that are not right in the music industry, whether this be inappropriate lyrics, videos or behaviours of musicians, yet are WE the ones that are allowing it and feeding it to continue?

Okay, we can say "Oh, no not me, I definitely don't allow for or even support that behaviour!" But think about it this way ... whenever we buy the latest tune or even watch the video or listen for free, each view, listen or buy is another number supporting the artist to think that the way they are living, acting, behaving and what they have become to produce their music IS what we want to hear, see and be entertained by.

Why would they think there was anything wrong if they have millions of people showing them that, by our interest and attention, we accept what they are doing is ok?

It seems that some artists, if not many, are driven by recognition even more than the desire for money. The number of hits their song gets determines where it is in the charts and the number of hits is determined by our choice to listen, watch and or buy as a society.

So when the controversial behaviour, video or song goes viral, even if it receives negative attention, as long as it gets the hits so desired, it seems that some artists are satisfied.

But why is it that many artists, currently and in the past, are and have been satisfied with this kind of attention?

It is understandable that with all the attention, it could be almost impossible to hear the fact that your behaviour when you are in the public eye actually does influence and affect many, many people no matter what you can say about ‘just having fun’, or that your song or video has been so interpreted incorrectly.

If you put something ‘out there’ then it is your responsibility ... whether you want to admit it or not.

But we, the public and aspiring or accomplished musicians, are the ones giving out that attention and setting the standard of behaviour: we are the ones saying to young people and adults alike, this is an ok way to behave and if you do, then this is the attention you will get and / or this is how you get famous.

Imagine if we did not give the so craved attention to this type of inappropriate, shock value behaviour and music? What if we clearly showed that this is not a healthy way to be in our society?

Would that display a message that this behaviour is not acceptable? If we never gave support to the degrading music and videos that are out there would these artists question themselves? Would our young people especially, but also all of us equally, know that there is a self-respecting way of being? Imagine what our amazing talents could bring then?

If you are in the public eye you have a responsibility, but both up and coming artists and we, the music listeners, have an even bigger role to play. We decide what is worthy of ‘celeb’-ration and it is only us, as the masses, that can truly make a change.

Filed under

BehaviourAnti-social behaviourAccountabilityMusicMusic videosMusiciansRole models

  • By Emmalee Benhayon

    Singer/songwriter, complementary therapist, natural perfumer, lover of people and advocate for the truth. Dedicated to sharing what I have discovered and learnt in life with all.

  • Photography: Clayton Lloyd