Apple’s New Lyric Censoring Technology

Whenever I put an episode of The Ongoing History of New Music together, I have to make sure that I use nothing but the “clean” radio edits of songs (or create ones of our own) lest a naughty word leak out over the airwaves. Program directors hate when that happens because they’re held accountable for such offences by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council in Canada, the FCC in the US, Ofcom in the UK and all the other broadcast regulators around the world. (The show is set to debut in Singapore in May and…well, I don’t need anyone getting caned, you know?)

This is why this alleged new Apple technology that automatically scans songs for dirty words could actually be helpful to people like me. The patent, which goes by the name of “Management, Replacement and Removal of Explicit Lyrics During Audio Playback,” can apparently detect offending passages and prevent them from reaching delicate ears. Bad words would be replaced by beeps or by “clean” lyrics. It’s so seamless that the listener doesn’t notice a thing.

And it’s not just music. Apple says the technology can be applied to audio books, too, making books with adult language palatable for children.

Presumably, this is an on/off feature. Those who can stand salty/sexy language won’t be burdened with the censoring tech. And if it does work, I can see radio stations jumping all over this, especially in sensitive countries like the US. (Sing about guns and violence all you want, but drop an F-bomb and the FCC will fine your ass big-time.)

More at Business Insider.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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