Google’s Scan and Match Swapping Explicit Lyrics for The Clean Stuff

December 24, 2012 - Written By Tom Dawson

This is a little strange, and it’s something I’m not sure what to say about. The word is that Google’s new “Scan and Match” feature that has been live in Europe for some time now, that has come to the States, is swapping out Explicit music with the clean versions. If you’re unfamiliar with the new feature in Google Music what Scan and Match essentially does is scans your library to find out what you have and if you’ve got something in the Play Store library then you won’t have to upload it. Instead, it will just let you play the version of the music that is in the Play Store library from your registered devices. All of this saves a lot of time and if you’re lucky enough to have a lot of music that’s in their library then you may find the initial upload a lot quicker than you might have first thought.

Now, I’m in the UK and for a long time I’ve wanted Google Music to come to my little Island and when it finally did arrive, I took the chance to upload my vast music library. Bizarrely, I thought that the upload didn’t really take that long at all. Here at home I have a pretty good broadband line, I get around 32mbps down but only around 2.5mbps up so, while I knew it wouldn’t take days or anything, I certainly didn’t think it would be as quick as it was. It turns out that Scan and Match was the result of my speed however, it looks Google has swapped out my explicit tracks for clean ones, with the odd songs I’ve experience it on, I just thought I was going crazy.

Turns out it’s not just me and that a lot of users around the web are reporting explicit lyrics being bleeped or scrubbed over and, in some cases, swapped out with other lyrics. I can confirm this myself, on Jay Z and Linkin Park’s Collaboration album – Collision Course – has explicit lyrics blurred out. In fact, I just listened to the two versions I have – on my HDD and in Google Music – one swears and the other one doesn’t.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that swearing is cool or anything like that but, what I will say is that Google need to do something about this. Not because swearing is an integral part of all music but because, I wasn’t given a choice in the matter. I doubt many of you have a problem protecting younger ears when music is concerned but, Google knows I am a 21 year old. I am of age and the Music Manager from the search giant never asked me whether I was okay with naughty words. Frankly, I find the idea of not consulting users beforehand is a little naughty.