Edited Version

This weekend, I’m heading to Los Angeles for the first time in over two years. To My Surprise is playing at Roxy on May 17. If you live in the area, the show will be well worth it. The band rocks with a high energy set featuring some seriously catchy riffs. Fan site, The Worlds Too Small offers tons of other background on the band.

As I mentioned in the last issue, most of my online music purchasing now takes place at
Napster. The user experience is better than anything else I’ve tried and the prices compete with all the other major retailers except one. PC World recently featured an article comparing the prices of iTunes and Wal-Mart. The discount retailer defeated iTunes by a wide margin in a comparison of Johnny Cash songs.

What PC World doesn’t say (and what I haven’t been able to verify) is whether Wal-Mart only sells edited versions of tracks, just like they do in their physical CD store. I long since vowed to never purchase another CD from Wal-Mart, specifically because they only sell censored versions of CDs. It’s not that I need to hear four-letter words. I don’t like someone else deciding what I should or should not listen to. Besides, there are many cases where the censored words are simply a part of the culture being represented by the song. What’s offensive to corporate executives in Arkansas may be part of everyday conversation in Iowa. My point is, the discounted price may mean you are getting a version of the song deemed appropriate by someone, rather than the full song.

Would you purchase edited versions of music from an online store?


  1. remember when radio stations edited out the word “crap” from paul simon’s “kodachrome”?
    sorry, but “classic rock” has more than a few songs where something more “substantial” than “crap” appears…
    for me: there’s not a chance in hell of me purchasing an edited song…

  2. Would I but a CD from a censoring seller?
    Hell, no. You are right again, Jake. Walmart is the biggest, but that don’t make them the best, do

  3. I would not purchase an edited song in a million years, nor would I purchase any music from a retailer that exercised that form of censorship.
    Wal -Mart already demands editing of cds and refuses to carry magazines that their corporate overseers deem inappropriate.
    what is next…books, the dvds that they already have the edited versions of, as well as a dvd player that edits out certain passages,or clothing that they feel is too revealing?
    They are the largest retiler in America, and as such wield a disproportionate weight in influencing our culture.
    I would much prefer to be able to make my own decisions regarding what I read, see or listen to,instead of some faceless Big Brother wannabe deciding for me based on his narrow criteria rather than mine.

  4. No, I wouldn’t purchase edited music from WalMart or any other retailer. But, I do try to avoid purchasing music that has really vile lyrics (sorry but I absolutely detest rap).
    Obviously a lot of people ARE purchasing edited music though … because otherwise WalMart wouldn’t be selling it. Even Corporate Do-Gooders bow to the all powerful dollar.
    (Can’t you just see them in their board meeting … “we must save America from the demonic influence of swear words”)
    If enough people said what we’re saying, that they aren’t going to control what we hear, then they’d be forced to make a financial decision to either stop selling CDs altogether or stop this forced morality.

  5. I’d have no problem. I don’t care if the cursing is part of the culture – I don’t want to hear it. Nor do I want my kid to start picking that up as acceptable language. (even if they just like the tune and don’t really know the words – yeah, right)
    As for everyone saying this is evil – you have the choice not to buy from Wal-Mart. Those who don’t mind can buy from there. Free enterprise at work.
    Same goes for movies – there are a lot of movies that I’d like to see that are just offensive to me due to the amount of foul language, violence, etc. I make the choice now not to see them except on broadcast TV, if even then. No other issues with the movie. Blues Brothers was one example – great music, funny movie, but a little too much bad language for me to see in the normal release. Once again – my choice on whether to see it or not. If it comes on TV, I’ll watch it and not cringe at anything my kid might pick up.

  6. No, I wouldn’t either. Nevertheless, I do not – repeat, N O T – believe that the biggest form of evil in the USA is censorship, believe it or not. There are many other things that loom larger in my mind than the minor “evil” of censorship.
    We – all of us – need to censor ourselves. This is called self-discipline, something which is severely lacking (my opinion) in America.
    The Islamists, though they are wrong in what they do to accomplish their goals, despise America for it’s lack of self-discipline. Instead, I think they see us as a very self-indulgent society.
    I am glad that I believe in Jesus Christ, because He is alive and real, and He helps me.
    Not everyone believes this. But can you imagine their shock when they wake up in eternity and find that Jesus Christ is real – and they wasted their lives in indulging themselves, when they could have prepared themselves for eternity.

  7. I am so tired of the overuse of the term censorship. WalMart is not yet the government. A government agency is the only agency with the power to censor. WalMart made a business decision to not allow filth. Most Americans thank them for their stand since they have the power to do this. And in a free society where filth is freely distributed, you have every right to buy filth elsewhere. So I thank and comment WalMart for having a strong position and sticking with it, just as I respect your right to sell filth if you wish to open a music store, retail outlet, or online music store.
    God bless the freedom of America’s capitalistic structure. May our freedom of expression never be curtailed, including the freedom to no purchase your music in which others freely express themselves.

  8. I knew I should have hit the preview button before posting my tirade.

  9. As a mother of 3 children, labeling music packaging is a great way to let me know what is in the music, (swear words, violent scenarios, etc.). To censor the music is a different story. It is another way for parents to have an unrealistic safety net. Parents allow thier children to buy music or buy it for them without ever LISTENING to it. Wal-Mart gives an unreal level of safety to purchasing music. Censoring music is not going to stop vulgar music from being written or performed. The music industry is going to make just as much money from a censored CD than from an uncensored CD. If you don’t like this kind of music, STOP BUYING IT. Kids are not stupid. They are going to figure out what words are supposed to be where those annoying bleep noises are and say the words anyway. Why not choose to take a stand and research and listen to music before you buy it or allow your kids to buy it instead of allowing a corporation that is looking at sales and profit margins to tell people what should or should not be censored. Demand that Wal-Mart train employees better so they don’t sell inappropriate music to children. Censoring is strictly for the convienience of the Wal-Mart Corporation so they will not have to worry about angry consumers because an employee sold thier child something full of foul language or graphic sex. We need to stand up and be parents and quit allowing corporations and government agencies to be parents for us.

  10. True censorship or nor, it is a dangerous slope when the largest retailer in the US (the world) start imposing its will on what’s appropriate or not to its customer.
    I would NEVER buy edited music/dvd/books.
    Now, if they could stop selling weapons, that I would applaud!

  11. Stop selling Weapons? That isn’t a form of (shudder) censorship?
    How odd!

  12. I am a profesional musician. I will NEVER EVER purchase edited music of any kind from anybody anywhere.

  13. I allow any individual the right to refuse to buy any kind of music or other media you find offensive, or edit it for yourself.
    I do not give ANYONE the right to make those decisions for me. It’s bad enough that we have labels and studios trying to force these decisions on the artists–now we’re adding ANOTHER level of censorship?
    Let the marketplace decide.

  14. Yes I would and did for my kids. They should say and I believe they do say edited by the song name.

  15. I would not personally buy anything from Walmart- they are the single most unscrupulous entity in the retail world.
    Hire illegal aliens & then try to act as if “no one knew”-
    Make a habit of “predatory pricing”- which means undercut all of the mom & pop stores initially to drive them out of business, & then raise the prices back up to normal levels-
    Now, this blatant attempt at censorship- these pillars of virtue will save us all?
    They make me sick…

  16. I would not (knowingly) download edited music. My main reason would not be the censorship itself, although that would cause me to avoid that retailer. However, the artist has a vision of what their music should sound like. Beeps, momentary silences, or skips take away from the music the artist intended us to hear.

  17. No way. They can go stick it up their ass. There are to many other people making our own personal decisions.

  18. Censorship ofcourse is bad, BUT on the other hand, I’d really rather my 8 year old grandson be a bit older before he learns some of the words. The problem isn’t with ADULTS, it’s with children. How do you feel about the “rating” system for games and movies? Perhaps we need a rating system for CD’s too!!!

  19. Walmart doesnt have the right to go against freedom of speech and media, therefore I dont buy CDs from them. Censorship is dumb, they just want to look better cause they get in too much crap with other problems (illegal aliens anyone?)

  20. I applaud any place that offers edited music or movies. The untimate freedom is the freedom to not have to do something (listen or watch) I don’t want to. In my opinion the old (predirt) music and movies are the best anyway. If Walmart or anyone else sees a profit in providing a service or product, then go for it.

  21. There is no way I would buy edited media.I think it is good if the outlet has both so we make our own mind up what we want.

  22. I would never buy edited music. I don’t believe in censorship – especially corporate censorship. As far as Walmart goes, I would never set foot in one.

  23. Censorship is wrong no matter what flavor or store you serve it in.
    WAL*MART is evil not just because of censorship but for these reasons also:
    – Cheap labor (illegal aliens)
    – Overseas buying (Cheaper goods from China)
    – False advertisement (Buy American campaign)
    – Vendor harassment (Predatory pricing)
    – Etc…Shall I go on!
    That said…I don’t buy from WAL*MART. I choose to buy from other companies. Americans seem to forget WAL*MART is such a huge corporation because Americans buy their goods. It is economics 101�No WAL*MART customers = No profit�No profit = No WAL*MART. Problem solved. YES, that does mean we will have to pay an extra $1.00 for shampoo. Is that extra $1.00 not worth a higher standard of living?

  24. nope, not at all would i even consider buying censored music, or books, or movies, or anything else that could be censored. i am an adult, and, as such, am capable of making up my own mind as to what i do or do not want to listen to. if i find something offensive, i have the ability to change the channel or to turn it off. if it’s a book, i can close the book, or skip a page, and keep on going. i do not like the idea of someone else deciding what is right or wrong for me. people in this country are giving up too many of their freedoms simply so that they can feel safe, or have the appearance of feeling safe. the best way to be safe is to accept the fact that you, and you alone, are responsible for your actions. you make your own choices, and live with the consequences of those choices. do not expect someone else to bail you out, or change the rules/laws just so you can have things the way you want them. accept censorship from outside (meaning that imposed on you by others, be it by law or by censoring what you read or listen to), and all that goes along with it, and one day you will wake up and find out that you have NO choices about anything. is that what you really want? rather than insisting that the governments make new laws, maybe it would be better if they simply enforce the ones that are already on the books. hey, i have a great idea: let’s just go with the original ten laws that were handed down so many years ago, and tack one on to them: the golden rule. if we were all to abide by those, and stopped trying to force our own thoughts and morals on other people, we’d all get along a lot better. just remember, you do have a choice: change the channel, or turn it off. just don’t expect me to do the same simply because you don’t like something.

  25. i would never intentionally buy censored music..
    i originate from “the hood” and the music im acustimed to is so pathetically censored when sold @ wallyworld that ill never buy from them
    a good example is a cd by a group called “bone thugs n harmoney [i know i cant spell], the walmart version was not only censored, but left an ENTIRE song out..

  26. Wow, here we go again. This is the kind of censorship that was encouraged by the Taliban.
    When are we ever going to learn/remember our high school lessons about the separation of church and state? Christianity went through the 100 years war in Europe, and we STILL haven’t learned!
    There is a fine line between religeous fundamentalism and dogmatic censorship. We who are not citizens of the USA are seeing the line blurred in your country, and warn you that that way leads to ruin; as history bears witness to.
    Your country was founded on the principles of free speech, and it pains me to see a massive, powerful corporation censoring the artistic work of the next generation of artists just to “look good”.
    I say let the market decide! THAT’S the American way, NOT some 50 year old corporate boot licker who’s trying to decide what’s appropriate for the average 19 year old customer!

  27. I was used to think that the main thing that differentiates the USA from Communist Cina or Russia was the lack of pervasive censorship.
    Now I see that “times are a-changing”…
    I’m very glad to live in another country.

  28. I don’t believe that much of the filth, violence, racism and sexual violence in some music is “part of the culture”. I think that it is playing too big of a part in influencing the culture to the point that what used to offend, and should offend, is now becomiming commonplace. Our young people and others are becoming desensitized to what should be repulsive in our behavior and speech. GO WAL-MART!!

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