Advice on complaining about music played in workplace?

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sloppychops

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Where I work there are a few bluetooth speakers employees can use to play music. These are the kind of speakers that can play really LOUD. 95% of the time, what is blasting out of these speakers is rap/hip hop. It's not just awful from a musical perspective, it's ridiculously vulgar and offensive.

I've spoken to one manager about it (nothing done) and am considering filing a more formal complaint with HR. I need advice, not just on how to approach this, but whether I even should.

Now, I'm sure someone here is going to fault me for passing judgment on this "music," or tell me how there's a lot of really great rap, or even accuse me of being racist. So, understand a few things:

This isn't just someone playing music on a speaker for their own listening. This is someone BLASTING this music on a speaker. I mean really, really LOUD. Just use earplugs, you say? I do, and it's still LOUD. Use earbuds to play my own music? Not allowed.

There is little in the way of musicality in what I hear there. Typically, there's a riff that's repeated over and over and over throughout the "song," with angry sounding yelling over it. It is virtually nonstop yelling, with no "space" where you hear actual music. The beats are programmed beats, not actual drumming, and there are obviously sampled snippets of horns or female voices repeated throughout a cut to the point of annoyance.

I recorded a few snippets of audio with my phone last week in anticipation of approaching HR about this. Here's some of what's on these audio snips:

- "You little stupid a$$ b!tch, I ain't f_ _ kin' wid you. You little stupid a$$ b!tch"
- "Suck my d!ck", repeated yelling of "n!ggas", "mother_cker"
-"Biatch, biatch, biatch" (yelled repeatedly)

Has anyone else filed an official complaint with their HR department over someone else's music and music volume? How did it play out?

I'm really conflicted on this. Should I just keep my mouth shut and not make an issue of it?
 

imwjl

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Where I work there are a few bluetooth speakers employees can use to play music. These are the kind of speakers that can play really LOUD. 95% of the time, what is blasting out of these speakers is rap/hip hop. It's not just awful from a musical perspective, it's ridiculously vulgar and offensive.

I've spoken to one manager about it (nothing done) and am considering filing a more formal complaint with HR. I need advice, not just on how to approach this, but whether I even should.

Now, I'm sure someone here is going to fault me for passing judgment on this "music," or tell me how there's a lot of really great rap, or even accuse me of being racist. So, understand a few things:

This isn't just someone playing music on a speaker for their own listening. This is someone BLASTING this music on a speaker. I mean really, really LOUD. Just use earplugs, you say? I do, and it's still LOUD. Use earbuds to play my own music? Not allowed.

There is little in the way of musicality in what I hear there. Typically, there's a riff that's repeated over and over and over throughout the "song," with angry sounding yelling over it. It is virtually nonstop yelling, with no "space" where you hear actual music. The beats are programmed beats, not actual drumming, and there are obviously sampled snippets of horns or female voices repeated throughout a cut to the point of annoyance.

I recorded a few snippets of audio with my phone last week in anticipation of approaching HR about this. Here's some of what's on these audio snips:

- "You little stupid a$$ b!tch, I ain't f_ _ kin' wid you. You little stupid a$$ b!tch"
- "Suck my d!ck", repeated yelling of "n!ggas", "mother_cker"
-"Biatch, biatch, biatch" (yelled repeatedly)

Has anyone else filed an official complaint with their HR department over someone else's music and music volume? How did it play out?

I'm really conflicted on this. Should I just keep my mouth shut and not make an issue of it?
@Chart72 has the right first step. Your own noise cancelling ear buds might be a good second step.

You should not be upset but creating a top down policy or a war or ill will with coworkers could be upsetting too.
 

JL_LI

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I feel for you. While I was working, there was always music playing. I used YouTube in the area I worked. Two guys in an assembly area alternated classic rock and jazz. If I was in the area, the jazz guy put a Herbie Hancock playlist on. A guy in the repair area was a DJ who played his remixes. The shipping area was different still. None of the music was offensive and none of it was played at a level that it would be picked up in a telephone conversation. What happened to consideration and respect where you work? Why is there not a policy about content and loudness?
 

teletail

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Do NOT talk to the people playing the music … unless you are their manager. There is no way that’s going to work out well. Go to HR, I’d take the clip of obscene lyrics, but I’d keep my mouth shut about value judgments on the music itself. The issues are the volume and the obscene lyrics, everything else will just weaken your case.
 

sloppychops

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To repeat what I stated in my original post, earbuds of any kind are not allowed. You can use earplugs, which I do, but they only reduce the volume level a little. It's still loud even with earplugs.
 

johnny k

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Bring your own speaker, play some john zorn ?
I have noticed something though. It has been 2 years since i felt loud music / noises are an agression on me. It could be a symptom of depression...
 

johnny k

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To repeat what I stated in my original post, earbuds of any kind are not allowed. You can use earplugs, which I do, but they only reduce the volume level a little. It's still loud even with earplugs.
What sort of ear plugs do you use ? The foam ones ? the wax ones ? Both are very effective in reducing noises when we rehearse. Put you have got to put them in your ears in the proper manner.
 

SixStringSlinger

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Do NOT talk to the people playing the music … unless you are their manager. There is no way that’s going to work out well. Go to HR, I’d take the clip of obscene lyrics, but I’d keep my mouth shut about value judgments on the music itself. The issues are the volume and the obscene lyrics, everything else will just weaken your case.

AND be prepared for the response to be “no music of any kind for anyone ever”. That’s the general workplace line because it’s easy to apply to everyone, and no one has to decide what’s too vulgar and what isn’t.

And yeah, keep your opinions on the musical value of the music to yourself. It’s a bit much (I think) to assume people will believe you’re racist for it, but you will sound like “wah wah I don’t like this”.

I’m curious about where you work/what work you do. I doubt you’re physically around clients/customers, just because the apparent volume of the music around you would seem to make that difficult, and the bosses would also seem to be more on top of the “obscenity” aspect if “civilians” were around. If they’re not around then I don’t see why everyone can’t just have their own earbuds. Is it a safety/communication thing, like in a warehouse with heavy equipment? Then the Bluetooth speakers wouldn’t seem much better.

I think that, rather than complaining and getting all music shut down, you all could discuss some kind of rotation for who decides what gets played. You’ll still have to put up with chunks of time where you don’t like the music (for whatever reason), but so will they when you put on Buck & Don or whatever.
 

That Cal Webway

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Do NOT talk to the people playing the music … unless you are their manager. There is no way that’s going to work out well. Go to HR, I’d take the clip of obscene lyrics, but I’d keep my mouth shut about value judgments on the music itself. The issues are the volume and the obscene lyrics, everything else will just weaken your case.


Yep. 100%

.
 

Trageser22

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I would definitely speak to hr.
I am a union carpenter, and I hear all kinds of different music all over the place. Someone’s play rap, another country, always classic rock, and something in a Spanish variety. I’ve seen people cut radio cords , thrown speakers, literal fights. People are wry serious about their music. Don’t confront them unless you know them well!
 
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