Explicit content slipping through Apple's iTunes Radio profanity filters

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited April 2014
While Apple's iTunes Radio is set by default to block songs with explicit language from streaming, the current filters are far from perfect, with profane content slipping through the cracks to the surprise of some listeners.


Some explicit content gets through Apple's iTunes Radio filters


A reader who contacted AppleInsider said that although they had purposefully left the explicit content filter on, they found that multiple uncensored songs continued to play. In one example, an uncensored version of the track "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars, which features a prominent "f-word" in the opening lines of the song, was said to have played on numerous occasions in front of children.

In our own tests, we also found that explicit content was slipping through the cracks, though many censored songs were also playing with the toggle enabled. Still, many songs with language considered to be unacceptable on radio and television in the U.S. were still being played through iTunes Radio.

Conversely, it seems that the same issue also exists in reverse: Users turning off the filter, in order to allow explicit content to play, report continuing to hear censored tracks, rather than the original explicit language.


Even with explicit content allowed, some censored songs still play.


The issues have existed since iTunes Radio launched to the public last September, as indicated by numerous threads on the Apple Support Communities website. Users have suggested that competing streaming music services do not have this same issue.

"The 'allow explicit' is turned on for iTunes Radio and it's still playing explicit songs," user "Ben Hur" wrote. "We recently switched from Pandora where we didn't have this problem at all."

There have also been reports of unexpected content that may not be appropriate for certain audiences creeping into unexpected custom streaming stations. One user posted last year claiming that the station "Disney World Attraction Radio" began playing rap songs intended for mature audiences in front of their child.

There are two ways to enable or disable explicit content in iTunes Radio. The easiest is tapping the "i" button at the top of the screen while playing a station, then flipping the switch for "Allow Explicit Tracks."

Users can also disable all mature-language iTunes content by opening the iOS Settings application, choosing General, and then Restrictions. Under "Allowed Content," users can uncheck "Music & Podcasts," which will change the content filter to "clean." Doing so also removes the ability toggle such content back on through iTunes Radio.
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    alexmitalexmit Posts: 112member
    This is awesome news. I've been looking to add a few words to my vocabulary for some time now. ;-)
  • Reply 2 of 66
    sestewartsestewart Posts: 102member

    This isn't exactly breaking news. The problem with Apple's filters is that it's filtering what is labeled explicit in the iTunes Store. 

     

    Lots of items are labeled incorrectly in the store. And older (pre-iTunes store era release items) items might not be labeled at all. The service isn't perfect, and it seems Apple hasn't made updates or changes to it since it debuted. 

  • Reply 3 of 66
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    Well, f*ck me!!!
  • Reply 3 of 66
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,145member

    Wish they'd get a move on and offer iTunes Radio to their international customers, come on Apple you released this half a year ago. Show some love to the customers that pay far more for your goods than your American customer base!

  • Reply 5 of 66
    I have to weigh in because this is the one major issue I've had with iTunes Match since day one. The root of the problem goes back to iTunes itself. The "Explicit" tag needs to be separate item that can be selected under View Options, similar to "Part of a Compilation".

    In my experience, iTunes Match incorrectly censored most of the Explicit songs in the Hip-Hop/Rap genre. I think part of the problem is that you are not given the opportunity to select Explicit or Censored when iTunes makes a match. Almost all music ripped from CDs or purchased from Amazon are incorrectly matched to censored versions. Since I used iTunes Match to replace all of my lower nitrate songs with higher quality versions, I'm forced to re-rip from CD or re-purchase to fix the problem.

    What I'd really like the ability to do is toggle between Explicit and Censored on the fly for music in my library in the same fashion that iTunes Radio offers (once it's fixed). I manage all the music on my kid's iPod Touches to sync to playlists that only include "approved" songs that I deem appropriate. I've even run into an issue before buying a song that wasn't labeled Explicit that contained a prominent use of the S-word. iTunes was kind enough to refund the purchase, but I find the whole process very cumbersome. I'd gladly pay a nominal fee to have access to both versions of a song when I make purchases - maybe $1.49 instead of $1.29.

    I've also had an issue with a Guns n' Roses album incorrectly matching to a censored version but it's not as obvious when it happens to a Rock song as when it happens in Hip-Hop/Rap.

    Until Apple offers a fix, I guess I'll continue providing feedback (Provide iTunes Feedback) and hope that enough people do the same until the issues are resolved.
  • Reply 6 of 66
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,086member

    What's explicit anymore? George Carlin made news with his 7 explicit words that could never be said on TV yet I believe every single one of them is now used, at least on cable. Daytime TV uses several on them. Kids use them because their friends and family use them. I'm not condoning their use but it really isn't Apple's problem to regulate their use. There are a lot of people who say they don't swear but they still use offensive language and they are not stopped by any filter.

  • Reply 7 of 66
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

     

    What's explicit anymore? George Carlin made news with his 7 explicit words that could never be said on TV yet I believe every single one of them is now used, at least on cable. Daytime TV uses several on them. Kids use them because their friends and family use them. I'm not condoning their use but it really isn't Apple's problem to regulate their use. There are a lot of people who say they don't swear but they still use offensive language and they are not stopped by any filter.


     

    I think we can all agree on at least a few words should be classified as "explicit".  If you don't care what your kid hears- thats fine, just take explicit off.  I would hope that when my child is 13 year old that I don't want the risk of having F bombs dropped in songs. Of course, I'm sure the majority don't care (about anything- not just cursing).  Yes, 13 year olds hear F bombs all the time- it doesn't mean that I choose to promote the word.

     

    Can we also agree that cursing it typically ignorant because you can't expand your vocabulary enough to create other adjectives, verbs, and noun (all of which an F bomb could be) ;)

  • Reply 8 of 66
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    rob53 wrote: »
    What's explicit anymore? George Carlin made news with his 7 explicit words that could never be said on TV yet I believe every single one of them is now used, at least on cable. Daytime TV uses several on them. Kids use them because their friends and family use them. I'm not condoning their use but it really isn't Apple's problem to regulate their use. There are a lot of people who say they don't swear but they still use offensive language and they are not stopped by any filter.

    On network and basic cable shit is the only one that can be used. Or at least the last one I heard about via South Park circa 2001.

    That said, I think the FCC's list for network TV is much more extensive than those infamous 7 words. I found this on Buzzfeed:
  • Reply 9 of 66
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,613member
    gtr wrote: »
    Well, f*ck me!!!
    Yeah! I'll be buggered!!
  • Reply 10 of 66
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    andysol wrote: »
    Can we also agree that cursing it typically ignorant because you can't expand your vocabulary enough to create other adjectives, verbs, and noun (all of which an F bomb could be)

    G. Rover Cripes, don't be a consarn scalawag. :p

    No, we can't all agree that cursing in and of itself is a sign of ignorance and the lack of a diverse vocabulary. The import we put upon certain words are surely learned but no word, even cursed words are not actually cursed. They are a part of our diverse lexicon and can be used to great effect to make a point more poignant because the word carries a heavier meaning, not in spite of. This is the beauty of language.

    Example 1:

    [VIDEO]


    Example 2:

    [VIDEO]


    Example 3:
  • Reply 11 of 66
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,458member
    I found the article also to suffer from profanity, with lines like: "slipping through the cracks", but maybe that's just Apple Inside 'er.
    saarek wrote: »
    Wish they'd get a move on and offer iTunes Radio to their international customers, come on Apple you released this half a year ago. Show some love to the customers that pay far more for your goods than your American customer base!

    I hear you. Still, I simply registered for a free US iTunes account and enjoy US Radio now. Also handy for free apps in the App Store that aren't available in your country.

    Thank you
  • Reply 12 of 66
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,721member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by saarek View Post

     

    Wish they'd get a move on and offer iTunes Radio to their international customers, come on Apple you released this half a year ago. Show some love to the customers that pay far more for your goods than your American customer base!


     

    That's not Apple's doing.  Blame the UK labels.  Part of the cost/benefit of national sovereignty.

  • Reply 13 of 66
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,145member
    john.b wrote: »
    That's not Apple's doing.  Blame the UK labels.  Part of the cost/benefit of national sovereignty.
    Apple was willing to negotiate with the same labels in the USA to arrange this. It didn't magically drop into their laps, all I'm asking is that they put a similar amount of effort into their UK/all other international operations.
  • Reply 14 of 66
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    G. Rover Cripes, don't be a consarn scalawag. image



    No, we can't all agree that cursing in and of itself is a sign of ignorance and the lack of a diverse vocabulary. The import we put upon certain words are surely learned but no word, even cursed words are not actually cursed. They are a part of our diverse lexicon and can be used to great effect to make a point more poignant because the word carries a heavier meaning, not in spite of. This is the beauty of language.

    There's the paradox.  If it is used in common and casual conversation, it loses it's poignancy and doesn't carry the heavy meaning it once did.  Essentially, without the discrepancy, it loses it's clout.

     

    So I guess I'm saying that I'm for cursing, just not over-cursing.  Because when I curse, which is rare, I want it to really mean something. :smokey: 

  • Reply 15 of 66
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,458member
    saarek wrote: »
    john.b wrote: »
    That's not Apple's doing.  Blame the UK labels.  Part of the cost/benefit of national sovereignty.
    Apple was willing to negotiate with the same labels in the USA to arrange this. It didn't magically drop into their laps, all I'm asking is that they put a similar amount of effort into their UK/all other international operations.

    They added Australia, so I would think there are more countries to follow. Check here for availability of iTunes Music, Radio & Match:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5085?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
  • Reply 16 of 66
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    andysol wrote: »
    There's the paradox.  If it is used in common and casual conversation, it loses it's poignancy and doesn't carry the heavy meaning it once did.  Essentially, without the discrepancy, it loses it's clout.

    So I guess I'm saying that I'm for cursing, just not over-cursing.  Because when I curse, which is rare, I want it to really mean something. :smokey:  

    That could be a major why certain words fall out of use.



    PS: Personally, I hate that there are words I won't use. It's just a string of letters or sound waves yet I won't use them because they are considered too taboo for today's society. I am a hypocrite because I also feel that no words should be off limits to adults. I should be able to use certain words in a non-pejorative manner without having to defend myself for its usage. The problem is we choose to get emotional about certain words and terms. Sure, this emotion is taught but we still choose to get upset because we see this string of letters or have our eardrums vibrated in a particular pattern. I find that sad. In fact, as noted by Louis C.K.'s hilarious monologue on SNL this past weekend he makes fun of the non-offensive term "wife beater" to refer to a style of T-shirt.


    [VIDEO]
  • Reply 17 of 66
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sestewart View Post

     

    This isn't exactly breaking news. The problem with Apple's filters is that it's filtering what is labeled explicit in the iTunes Store. 

     

    Lots of items are labeled incorrectly in the store. And older (pre-iTunes store era release items) items might not be labeled at all. The service isn't perfect, and it seems Apple hasn't made updates or changes to it since it debuted. 


    Seconded. This is something Apple has gotten away with on iTunes for a while, in lots of different forms.

     

    1) Many tracks on iTunes are either not labeled at all, or are improperly labeled Clean/Explicit

    2) iTunes Match has a VERY bad habit of a taking a Clean edit you may have of a song, and Matching it with the unedited Explicit version.

     

    Both are well documented issues that Apple does not seem keen to address.

  • Reply 18 of 66
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    PS: Personally, I hate that there are words I won't use. It's just a string of letters or sound waves yet I won't use them because they are considered too taboo for today's society. I am a hypocrite because I also feel that no words should be off limits to adults. I should be able to use certain words in a non-pejorative manner without having to defend myself for its usage. The problem is we choose to get emotional about certain words and terms. Sure, this emotion is taught but we still choose to get upset because we see this string of letters or have our eardrums vibrated in a particular pattern. I find that sad. In fact, as noted by Louis C.K.'s hilarious monologue on SNL this past weekend he makes fun of the non-offensive term "wife beater" to refer to a style of T-shirt.



     

    Saw that monologue.  Very funny.

     

    Except c*nt... that word can only be used once in a lifetime, and be prepared to sleep on the couch.  :)

  • Reply 19 of 66
    hydrogenhydrogen Posts: 230member

    The existence of such a system, the fact that a (supposedly) intelligent human being could rely on it to know what is good for him (or his children) to hear or not to hear is beyond my comprehension.

     

     

    cf PMRC Senate Hearing :

     

  • Reply 20 of 66
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    andysol wrote: »
    Saw that monologue.  Very funny.

    Except c*nt... that word can only be used once in a lifetime, and be prepared to sleep on the couch.  :)

    That's one of those words I'm talking about. You didn't use it in a negative context but you still didn't spell it out. Yet other words we will spell or say without fear of the lack of or neutral context being an issue. I find our lack of high-level thinking on this matter quite perplexing.
Sign In or Register to comment.