1996 to 1997 across five genres of music popular with youth. They found that 17 percent of all the lyrics contained references to alcohol: alcohol was mentioned much more frequently in rap music (47 percent) than in other genres, which included country-western (13 percent), top 40 (12 percent), alternative rock (10 percent), and heavy metal (4 percent). Overall, 22 percent of songs with alcohol mentions referred to beer or malt liquor, 34 percent to wine or champagne, 36 percent to hard liquor or mixed drinks, and 31 percent to generic terms such as “booze.” A common theme was getting intoxicated or high (24 percent), although drinking was also associated with wealth and luxury (24 percent), sexual activity (34 percent), and crime or violence (13 percent). Consequences of drinking were mentioned in only 9 percent, and anti-use messages occurred in only 3 percent of the songs with alcohol references. Product placements or brand-name mentions occurred in 30 percent of them and were especially common in rap music (48 percent). An analysis of alcohol depictions in rap music (Herd, 1993) found the portrayal of alcohol use to convey elements of disinhibition, rebellion, identity, pleasure, sensuality, and personal power.
DuRant et al. (1997) analyzed 518 music videos from four television stations—MTV, BET, CMT and VH1—for portrayals of alcohol and tobacco use. In terms of music genre, rap music contained the highest percentage of depictions of alcohol use, and rhythm and blues videos showed the least alcohol use. Alcohol use was found in a higher proportion of music videos that had any sexual content than in videos that had no sexual content.
The music industry has been the slowest to implement rating and advertising restrictions in line with the FTC’s recommendations in its reports on the marketing of recordings with violent content to young audiences. The deficiencies identified by the FTC in these reports are directly applicable to the marketing of recordings with alcohol content to young audiences. The recording industry has no independent review board for its decision to label recordings. There are also no stated standards for what sort of recording receives a label, and the current labeling system does not require recording companies to inform buyers of the reasons for the ex-plicit-content label. The FTC’s follow-up reports in 2001 and 2002 found that advertising for explicit-content labeled recordings continued to appear on television programs popular with teen audiences. Although there have been some recent improvements, these advertisements frequently failed to indicate that the advertised product had a parental warning label; even when this information was indicated, it was often too small to be read. Except for one recording company, the companies themselves provide little to no information as to the reasons for the parental warning label or where to find such information (FTC, 2002).
In the committee’s judgment, more responsible self-regulation by the