By: John Woods

The Minneapolis-based MUSICLAND is the largest retail record chain in the U.S., with 1000-plus stores. In states such as Utah, Musicland is the only retail chain.

Rock Out Censorship is happy to join with our friends from the Illinois based Parents For Rock & Rap in calling on our readers, members, friends and record buyers everywhere to participate in a boycott of this retail giant. Furthermore, we urge our readers and friends to organize protest and picket lines at any MUSICLAND outlet in your area. Here's why.

MUSICLAND pure and simple is attempting to restrict and censor what records you may or may not purchase, especially if you happen to be under the age of 18. Every three months or so, top Musicland brass and executives from their distribution department meet to draw up a "hit list" of what they call "restricted titles." Who knows what criteria is used to decide what albums get on this list, but the list is sent out to all Musicland stores. Store managers are instructed to mark each album on the "hit list" with a sticker that reads: MUST BE 18 YEARS OF AGE TO PURCHASE. I.D. REQUIRED.

In the September 16, 1993 issue of Rolling Stone, David Thigpen called Musicland's policy, "The latest example of the chilling effect the PMRC created with its campaign in 1985." In the same article even our old friend Jay Berman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was quoted as saying, "Such a list is not keeping with the RIAA's idea of how the labeling system should work." The RIAA, as you know was the industry organization who caved-in to the Senator's wives and instigated the dreaded "Parental Advisory" stickers.

Along with being outright illegal, since there is no law on the books requiring a person to be 18 or over to purchase a record, the Musicland policy also smacks of racism. Fifty-three of the eighty-nine albums on a recent list was rap music. Those appearing were N.W.A., Ice-T, Ice Cube, and of course, The Geto Boys. Kinda makes ya go hmmm!

We understand that Musicland is not the only retail chain that has a policy such as this, but since they are the nation's largest, the line has to be drawn somewhere. We understand that the Ohio-based CAMELOT MUSIC (who's headquarters is just up the road a bit from R.O.C.'s HQ) also has marked albums with "18 TO BUY" stickers. If this policy is still being implemented, we should boycott them too. If you have a MUSICLAND, CAMELOT MUSIC or any store in your area that is using "18 TO BUY" stickers or policies, we urge you to take action NOW! Let them know that we, the record buying public will not tolerate this bullshit. Check out and follow the instructions laid out by Tom Morello from RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE in his interview in this issue of THE ROC, where he tells you how to go about organizing a protest of these stores. Keep us posted how it goes. Send follow-up articles and photos to THE ROC. Keep PARENTS FOR ROCK & RAP informed about activities also by writing: PFRR, Box 53, Libertyville, IL 60048. And most of all, let the top dogs at MUSICLAND know that we're on to their bullshit, and we're going to do whatever it takes to stop it. Write or call: Jack W. Eugster, CEO, MUSICLAND GROUP INC., 7500 Excelsior Blvd., Minneapolis, MN 55426-4503, (612) 932-7700.


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