Professor Judith Taylor comments on “culture shifts” in the music streaming universe

In an article by CTV News, Professor Judith Taylor commented on how certain changes in the music streaming universe are part of a broader phenomenon, where the public is pressuring musicians to hold their colleagues accountable for their actions. Many artists, including Lady Gaga and Celine Dion, are taking down their collaborations with R. Kelly from music streaming services, due to the history of sexual misconduct allegations against him. Professor Taylor says that altering functions on streaming platforms, such as being able to “mute” certain artists, contributes to creating a culture shift, where people are creating new mechanisms to deal with social wrongs. These mechanisms raise the question of whether artists should be able to take their songs off streaming platforms, which potentially erases slivers of pop context. In response, Professor Taylor states that the controversies behind the recording of duets with problematic artists has already solidified its place in pop culture history. In fact, trying to banish certain songs makes them more potent in people’s memories, making them impossible to erase.

Professor Taylor is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, and is jointly appointed in the Women and Gender Studies Institute, at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on feminist activism, neighbourhood community organizing, and social change making with public institutions. She also teaches and writes about qualitative research methods, feminist approaches to studying people, and community-based learning, with a particular focus on the dilemmas posed by institutional ethical review. In her work, she uses feminist creative work as a lens to better understand the central focus of feminist imagination and life.

Read the full article here. We have included an excerpt below.

…Judith Taylor, a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, identifies changes like these as part of a broader phenomenon where the public is pressuring musicians to hold their colleagues accountable for their actions.

“Really this is about trying to create a culture shift,” she said.

“As the legal field has proven itself to be unable to (show) it’s efficacious in dealing with these social wrongs, people are creating new mechanisms — social shaming is one of them.”

It raises the question of whether artists like Gaga and Chance the Rapper should be able to take their songs off streaming platforms, seeing the move as potentially erasing slivers of pop context.

With the demise of physical media, those historical records of song could become harder to find as years pass. Already some unofficial YouTube links to “Do What U Want,” as well as some of Gaga and Kelly’s live televised performances, have been pulled down.

Taylor isn’t convinced that creates any sort of urgency to maintain the public record of Gaga’s song on streaming platforms as a point of reference. She said controversy behind its creation has already solidified its place in pop culture history.

“It’s impossible to erase anything,” she said. “Trying to banish this song makes it more potent in people’s memories.”…