How Much Does An Artist’s Behavior Affect Your Music Purchase?

prince_head_til_you_get_enough.jpgWelcome to another installment of Crowd Participation in which we hold our familiars at gunpoint and force them to answer the kind of controversial, thought-provoking questions that you'll only find here. This week's question involves making the choice that, in today's musical climate, many of us are forced to deal with: How does an artist's behavior affect your music purchase? It's difficult to reconcile your willingness to support a genius if they are acting like an imperious meanie, a big baby or a perv. And it stands to reason that the best way to check a jerk is to not give him your hard-earned coins. When faced with this, do you simply look the other way or do you just burn a copy from a friend? Check out some choice responses after the bounce....

ill Mami:

It matters a lot to me. I know that I will personally never be good friends with Kanye, Mariah or Whitney Houston and, therefore, have no idea how these people are behind closed doors, but the effect of behaving like an a--hole, poptard and crackhead, respectively, means that I will rarely partake in putting money into their pockets. As a thrity-something-year-old woman who knows better, I am aware of the image that I have to project when I go to work each day. I expect nothing less from someone whose lifestyle I intend to support by buying their music. There are few exceptions to this rule (namely ODB) for people who are just so interesting to watch and are twisting their music genre in ways we haven't seen before. But in general, if an artist's behavior is something that is too similar to something I've seen on Maury, I will not buy or partake in any of their main or side projects. 


Just when I thought the pied piper of probable pedaphelia could do no worse than compare his boo to a mountain terrain vehicle, Pissy Tapegate erupted. Still, I snuck in Chocolate Factory under the faux auspices that the music hadn't actually fondled that gal, but R's adolescent defiance and brazenly inappropriate sexuality aimed at young female concert attendees finally forced me to stop following this piper's tune.

DJ Diva:

I will admit that I very rarely buy music yet I do continue to support R. Kelly. Yes he's a pissing pedophile, but I've been a fan since his first album and his work with Aaliyah (his first victim). Back then, folks were upset that he hooked up with her when she was so young ... but we all bumped and grinded ... and I still do.


I think it depends on what type of a--hole we're talking about. Prince? Yes, because he's a genius. Sure the litigiousness of Prince and his internet goon squad defies logic and reason, but this a--holery is somewhat forgivable since His Royal Flyness has, on average, brought the goods for 30 years. I do not regret one cent of the debt I accrued paying for tickets to his concerts because they were phenomenal. He's an icon. Robin Thicke? No, because recently his a--iness has surpassed his talent. It's fine to be a sexy crooner singing mid-tempo songs entirely in falsetto and crossing color lines to drop the drawers of all peoples, but not at the expense of musical ingenuity. Additionally, that VIBE nonsense exposed a whiny, entitled prick. This would have been more tolerable in his "Cherry Blue Skies" days. Not now. His creative and vocal prowess have regressed as his sales and ego have increased.

DJ Stylus:

Since I understand that most artists are crazy on some basic level, you get a pretty wide amount of leeway with me personality-wise before your issues get in the way of me supporting your music. In the grand scheme of things, Kanye is pretty benign when compared to my only real deal-breakers of wife beating and child molesting. Trying to holler at my girlfriend might be on that list, too, but in general I can compartmentalize. I've met a few artists in person who were pricks but nothing severe. And they're far outnumbered by those who were pleasant or just non-threateningly weird.

It's your turn, commenters! Do you support good music (with your dollars) even if the artist in question is a public relations nightmare? We want examples of why and why not.

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16 Responses

  1. I have supported good music even if the artist is a nightmare(i have personally purchased both Amy Winehouse albums, and some R.Kelly records as well, Lauryn Hill, etc.) I see it as simply the power of music. When music is on a genius-like level, it feels good to the soul. and it is almost impossible to reject the soul regardless of the artist who makes the music. to be plain and simple-Great Music is Hard to Reject!

  2. Yes it does. I can no longer support R.Kelly especially after his interview w| Toure where he asked "what's a teenager?" His post Happy People releases suck anyway.
    There was a point when I refused to support Kanye. His childish and arrogant behavior turned me off. I even found it difficult to listen to his music. Lately, he seems to be acting like an adult, he may gain my hard earned dollars for his upcoming release.
    I definitely can't give my hard -earned-economic hardship dollars to Amy Winehouse's crackhead @$$. I'll be damn if she smokes my money up.
    I won't even talk about Prince and his b*tch @$$. Was it really necessary for him to have the YouTube video of a kid singing his song removed? Sh*t like that really makes me want to stop supporting the man.

  3. R. Kelly is just out of control. There is no turning back for that man, plus his music has sucked lately, so i have no problem not supporting him. I do usually focus on the person's music more than anything else. So someone like Kanye can get a pass, mainly because his antics aren't that bad to me. I try to only judge the artist by their art, and leave their personal business to be judged by God...unless they'e peeing on kids or putting out garbage.

  4. I do not put money an anyones pocket if they have a drug propblem, child molesters, or ass holes. I do not care how talented they are. I am not going to contribute to buying drugs. Kanye and Prince are a different kind of ass hole. if you are being an ass just because you feel you have the right to and feel entitled then I will not give you money so you can pay your cell phone bill, car note or mortgage payments!

  5. Every artist has his/her time. There was a time Prince could fart in a bottle and I'd take notice. But he has reached legacy status. Which to me means that as long as he doesn't pull an OJ I'll keep my ears open to something worth buying.
    Whether its Michael, Amy or any human being, to me, its about the output. Whos to say that Amy might not find a song that conveys what she is going thru?
    And a-nuda ting.... Why are we so quick to say "Soul Music is about what people really feel ....... but we cut off those who may be feeling something VERY uncomfortable.
    There is a line I suppose. But that line is only discernible ( to me) when their new work is presented against the backdrop of their life experiences.

  6. If an artist makes good music then i will buy it. I don't really care about their personality or what they do in their personal lives.

  7. I think there's a difference between being a fan and being an enabler. I cannot in good conscience buy music from someone that acts ungrateful, hateful, or is socially irresponsible. It's like giving someone carte blanche to fuck up. The reason some of these artists (and not necessarily the ones mentioned here) behave the way they do is because they are surrounded by piles and piles of money and yes-men that won't check them. And being a jerk is WAY different from being a tortured soul that expresses one's pain in their art. I can get behind that. But this inflated sense of entitlement certain artists have is sickening. There are better places my money can go.

  8. I'd be lying if I said it didn't matter, but I really do try to keep music and personality separate. There's such a fine line between madness and genius. The troubled, yet brilliant artist is a common cliche...Van Gogh cut his ear off, but people appreciate the beauty of his work. Then we turn that to music...Michael Jackson's an alleged perv but we cannot discount his immense impact on modern music. R. Kelly's another nutcase, but he's been a mover in R&B. Kanye's a dramatic priss, but his music is so much more quality than a lot of the hip-hop we hear out there. The list goes on and on...if the music's good, it's good, I can't not give credit where its due. I'll appreciate.
    Hmmm...but when it comes to actually putting money into the artist's pocket...haha...there are ways to listen without buying...*shrugs* poor college student. Shame on me.

  9. I would have to agree with DJ Stylus ... it depends on the behaviour. Child molestation (yes you R.Kelly) would send me runnin to the hills, no matter how good the music (for the record I don't own a single R.Kellysong ... never been a fan).
    The problem is (and I mentioned this on an Amy Winehouse post recently) that the modern media record/photograph/make up stories about artists on a daily basis ... they are scrutinized beyond belief. Everyone f***s up now and again but for most it isn't caught on camera. I think that artists should be given some leeway (when it comes to general 'bad behaviour') but as soon as they overstep the mark (especially if they have no talent to begin with) they should be relegated to music history!!

  10. Hard question. If their music remains outstanding then I'll continue to buy it yes. But there's precious few artists who're producing work divorced from their persona, it's certainly 50/50. If Jackson produced a great album, if Whitters could still sing at all, if, if, if.... But there's usually no "if" once the persona unravels everything else seems to go too... Sex-crimes and murder aside, I'd let most criminality or whackiness pass, but if an artists ever shows contempt for the good opinion of their public, or the money I've spent, it's over.

  11. Here's how it goes down for me: once your attitude and total ability to f**k yourself AND your fans by reducing the quality of your music (Prince) supercedes your former talent this creates a formula where I a) cease purchasing that artists' music and/or b) if I absolutely have to hear it (because I have a soft spot for said artist), then iwill either download it or have someone do so for me.
    Why support someone who is no longer up to snuff? Why support someone who's personal life/lives is such a mess that you can no longer even stand to hear their name (R. Kelly, who's let's face it, has a what? 4 or 5 song repertoire? Listen closely people, his songs all repeat themselves).
    Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, Prince (whom I love and have more bootlegs, outtakes, 12"s, produced by songs than any artist) and even Kanye to a great extent diminish their so-called genius with their ridiculous antics. The only concession I make to Kanye's 'diva-ness' is the fact that he's an only child and acts out in the media just like one. The upside for me is as long as these artists continue to behave in these deplorable fashions, then it saves me a lot of money - and clears space on my Ipod.

  12. Noone is perfect and we all got issues, but I would hate for someone to take away my opportunity to make money just because they don't like my issues, especially if I'm still doing my job well. I guess I'm in the minority because I will still support the artist if they produce music that I enjoy, because they are doing the job they are supposed to do entertain me. I let that thing called Karma, Time, our Justice System, God, whatever deal with their personal issues. I do think it is a litte unfair too. In that we know all of their business, but do we know what's going on with the CEO of Target or Walmart, know we do not, unless they go bankrupt and need a bailout, but I digress. The point is even though we don't know details of our fave dept store CEO's character, we continue to support them blindly, and we should if we appreciate the value we get from that store.

  13. I would agree with Ro. It all depends on what the problem is. In regards to Prince, yes he's pretty much given us 30 years of great music and yes he is an icon. And after everything is said and done he is just protecting his music. As for Kanye West, his arrogance is REE-DICK-U-LUSS!!!!!! He is such a whiner but what's scary is that he's a whiner with $$ and power, at least in the industry. I bought his first CD and nothing else! As for R Kelly (and Michael Jackson I feel is in the same boat!), you are a grown man molesting kids. SHAME ON YOU! I've never bought anything from R Kelly and the last MJ CD I bought was his HisTory collection right before the first allegation. Sorry guys but none of you are getting a red cent from me.

  14. Why Prince's pic have to be posted, lol...How could I not forgive Prince? He doesn't have to make another album for the rest of his life. He is a genuis. I keep hoping all this is just a phase for him. You know. I feel the same way about Mariah. Now the rest of them who cares?
    Luv the blog!

  15. (Written with a heavy heart & head bowed in shame) I... well I, sigh... sob, sniff. I had bought R. Ke-Ke-Ke, I mean it was good right . And um my friends an'nem had it right. Damn, I bought Chocolate Factory cd ok damn! I didn't burn it, I didn't download it, I didn't borrow it and not return it, OK. I went to the dag-gone iTunes and clicked the button that said "buy this pervy ass record." I did that sh*t OK. I thought he was gonna repent in a long ass video format or something, you know where he rhyme the whole dialog part and stuff. I thought the... The Gospel according to R. was going to be his big repent & return to glory next album. I... I thought, (on knees in shame now) I jus' had thought he would never, ever rhyme "Pop bottles with top models" again, OK. is that so wrong. Lawd, take me now...

  16. In no way was Robin Thicke an ass. He cleared up his Vibe comments and made it clear Vibe never said anything to him. It was a misquote in an article. It is funny how we accept all types of crap from those who deserve but throw others under a bus for something that was not even true and at best misunderstood.