Radio stations across the nation are pulling some songs off the air in the wake of last week's shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT. Most notably, TMZ reports that Ke$ha's single "Die Young" dropped precipitously after ranking #3 on radio playlists as of last Friday, the day of the shooting — but it lost some 19 million listeners by Monday. TMZ claims that this is a fairly unprecidented drop; the site claims that last time an artist experienced such a rapid decline was when the Dixie Chicks were banned from country radio following negative remarks about former President George W. Bush. The Dixie Chicks' cover of "Landslide" dropped significantly following the incident, and the group spent the next several years embroiled in controversy.
Ke$ha's been trying to distance herself from "Die Young" over the past day or so, tweeting that "I understand why my song is now inappropriate." TMZ is also claiming that Ke$ha sent a follow-up tweet that said "I had my very own issues with "die young" for this reason. I did NOT want to sing those lyrics and I was FORCED TO" — though the tweet has apparently been deleted. It's not clear why Ke$ha claimed she didn't want to sing the song; she's credited as a writer and previously said she stands by the song. However, that was before the shooting, and all her latest moves appear to be damage control in the wake of some negative sentiment directed at her fairly innocuous pop song.
I'm so so so sorry for anyone who has been effected by this tragedy.and I understand why my song is now inappropriate. words cannot express.— ke$ha(@keshasuxx) December 19, 2012
Foster the People have also come under fire, though in less dramatic fashion — an LA radio station has pulled their popular single "Pumped Up Kicks" from its playlist, though there's no word that it is being cut nationwide like "Die Young." Ironically, Foster the People have previously stated the song was meant to bring awareness to gun violence in schools; its lyrics were partially inspired by the Columbine High School shooting tragedy of 1999.
Ke$ha's trying to distance herself from the spotlight
It's not terribly surprising to see music come under public scrutiny following such a tragedy — after the Columbine shooting, Marilyn Manson (an artist favored by the shooters) cancelled the remainder of his tour dates while vocally taking the position that music, video games, or other media shouldn't be blamed for such incidents. Much as music and violent video games came under scrutiny following Columbine, the same appears to be happening now — violent video games in particular appear to be under the microscope yet again. That said, it seems unlikely that either Ke$ha or Foster the People will experience any lasting backlash over the incident — it's pretty obvious that Ke$ha's song, at least, has exactly nothing to do with last week's events.