Should fans abandon canceled artists?

Ethan Hurwitz and Jennifer Moglia

An artist’s mistakes doesn’t discredit their art

By Ethan Hurwitz, sports editor

I pride myself in having a vast music taste. Whenever I am asked what genres I listen to, I almost always respond with “anything.” I also would consider myself a person with morals who always tries to do the right thing.

So why does society publicly pressure me to not listen to the music of troubled celebrities?

Sure, I listen to Kanye West, Chris Brown, Rex Orange County and dozens of other artists who have done some questionable actions and said some pretty harmful things. But I should not be looked down upon differently because of my choice in music.

Separating the artist from their musical works is a crucial aspect of today’s cancel-culture society. If someone was to make demeaning comments on social media, society tends to eradicate all the playtime that person receives. For example, a “Kanye West Essentials” playlist was removed from Apple Music after his latest downfall, according to Apple Insider. However, playing a song that was recorded two decades ago should not be denounced because of an artist’s actions from two weeks ago.

This does not just go for the music industry. Renowned painter Pablo Picasso was often seen as a misogynist, but thousands of people still flock to his artwork in museums without a care in the world. Even Melbourne University art historian Jane Eckett believes he will never be “canceled,” which she said in an article for the Financial Review.  Why should I be the one at blame if I just want to listen to “Ignition–Remix” a few times just because R. Kelly has a disturbing personal life?

While many singers and songwriters may spin their own personal lives into their works, they are not harming anyone with their music. The same goes for authors who may have some iffy tweets in their past (I’m looking at you J.K. Rowling) or YouTubers who are accused of illegal activities off-screen.

People should make their own decisions about their listening habits and should not shame others for disagreeing. You can make the choice to skip out on Tory Lanez’s newest releases or turn back the clock to jam out to Michael Jackson.

But for me, I am still going to listen to Thriller every October and no one can stop me.


Disconnect your fandom from your wallet

By Jennifer Moglia, staff writer

I’m no stranger to having my favorite artists “canceled.” As a fan of pop-punk and hardcore music, I’ve seen bands I’ve listened to exposed as rapists, groomers and worse more times than I can count; at this point, there’s usually a new one every month.

By now, I’m so exhausted that I’m numb; seeing people whose art you’ve connected with revealed to be people that you’d never support is tiring. However, I think how you deal with this situation depends on what you’re okay with, and I know where my line is drawn.

I think that it’s impossible to get every fan of an artist to stop listening when they are “canceled.” There are some people who will be able to preserve their connection to the art, and I can respect them for that. All I ask is that they don’t financially support those artists.

Streaming an artist’s music barely makes them money. Most artists make as little as $0.0033 per Spotify stream, meaning they’d need just over 300 streams to make one dollar, according to USA Today.

As a result, I don’t see streaming music as being a prominent way for artists to make money. Therefore, I don’t think it’s a huge deal to listen to artists that you don’t support as people.

However, providing financial support for these artists in the form of purchasing concert tickets or merchandise is where I draw the line. Buying things like t-shirts and vinyl records is the best way to support an artist you love, and, in turn, the best way to continue giving a platform to artists you don’t agree with but enjoy the music of.

If you listen to “Good Life” by Kanye West once every few months and nothing else, I don’t think you’re a part of the problem. If you’re buying tickets to his shows and Yeezy clothing, picking up his albums at your local record store and constantly tweeting about how much you love him, I think you are.

Putting your money where your mouth is, so to speak, is something very important to me. As someone who feels passionately about social justice and inclusion, I cannot imagine handing hard-earned dollars to someone exhibiting obvious hateful behavior.

Separating the art from the artist is a personal choice, and I’m happy for you if you’re able. If so, make sure that you separate your money from their pockets, too.