Can you separate a musician’s art from their bad behavior IRL?

Cancel culture continues to be a contentious thing. What’s your opinion when a musician does (or is at least accused of) something bad? Can you separate the artist from the art?

A new study by TickPick of over 1,000 fans across all age groups and genre preference found the following.

  • 52% say that they’re against cancel culture and that it should be, er, canceled.
  • 62% say that artists must be held accountable for their actions
  • 48% stopped wearing the merch of artists who have done something dodgy
  • 36% have thrown away or deleted albums or music.
  • 30% have unfollowed them on social media
  • Over 50% say that they’ve stopped listening to at least one musician because they’re done something controversial.
  • 2 in 3 music fans say it’s impossible to separate the artist from the art.
  • The artists who lost the most support last year due to their behavior in 2021 were R Kelly, Chris Brown, and Kanye West. Weirdly, Bryan Adams has been ditched more than Marilyn Manson? WTF?

Let’s break things down by genre.

Read more of this survey here.

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.

2 thoughts on “Can you separate a musician’s art from their bad behavior IRL?

  • March 9, 2022 at 10:54 am

    I can and do separate music from the artist’s bad behaviour. In one case, a singer/songwriter I’ve liked for years was accused, via twitter, of doing some bad stuff. The artist was a HUGE influence on me in my twenties. I struggled with some things, and those songs were there to help me.

    To this day, criminal charges are not present. The twitter court has already released its guilty verdict. If a criminal conviction ever happens, I don’t think my opinion will change regarding the music. I might think of the artist in a negative light (more disappointment than hatred). At the end of the day, the music remains, along with the positive memories.

    Vince Neil killed a man while driving drunk. Millions of people, myself included, still listen to Motley Crue.

  • March 12, 2022 at 9:38 am

    I still love Ryan Adams’ music, despite all the women who said he was mentally cruel to them, including his ex-wife Mandy Moore. I might feel different if he was physically abusive, but he’s made such great music…


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