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Lyrics

Sharing music created and performed by young people is one of the best ways for us to demonstrate Youth Music’s impact. We encourage the projects we invest in to record and send us as many songs and videos as possible. We are keen to share a selection of these via our website, social media, newsletters and other communications channels.

Sometimes, the music we receive contains lyrics which might not be able to be played on daytime radio. We understand the importance of encouraging young people to express themselves freely, but we also don’t want to offend any listeners.

This means we have to make a decision on a track-by-track basis. We will listen to each song carefully, and decide whether it’s appropriate to share, and with whom. Our decision will be informed by the following points.

We won’t share lyrics containing:

  • hateful, threatening or violent language against individuals or groups
  • intolerance based on factors including race, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, gender identity or religion
  • language that ‘punches down’ (i.e. directed at an individual or group with a lower level of power in terms of status or privilege)

We will use our judgement about content and context to decide whether to share songs containing any of the following:

  • swearing
  • racialised or sexualised language
  • graphic or violent imagery
  • potentially distressing issues (for example lyrics about suicide or abuse)
  • descriptions of illicit behaviour (for example drug use, underage drinking or crime)
  • incitement to public disorder (for example rioting or vandalism)

Where appropriate, we will include a brief warning to listeners about lyrical content.

Our decisions will consider the policy context for these issues, particularly relating to safeguarding children and young people. Vivarta’s Art and the Law publication offers guidance on the legal frameworks around on counter terrorism, obscene publications, public order, race and religion, and child protection.

Please note: this is an editorial policy, referring only to music being shared via Youth Music’s communications channels.

We will continue to encourage the projects we support to send us music made by young people, regardless of its lyrical content. Our projects take place (mostly) outside school, and participants are free to express themselves. Often the young people we work with have little autonomy over any other areas of their life, and freedom of creative expression gives them an important outlet to counter this. We know that project staff encourage young people to consider the language they use. We can learn a lot about young people from lyrics: their interests, their emotions, and their attitudes.

For any questions about Youth Music’s communications policies, please contact Sophie Appleby, Communications Manager: sophie.appleby@youthmusic.org.uk

This policy was discussed and developed by Youth Music’s whole staff team, and signed off by the Senior Leadership Team in May 2016.