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Study of US popular music links luxury alcohol brands with degrading sex
Date:10/19/2011

In a study published online today in the international journal Addiction, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh reported that the average US adolescent is heavily exposed to alcohol brand references in popular music.

Branded alcohol references are most common in rap, R&B, and hip hop songs, and they are commonly associated with a luxury lifestyle characterized by degrading sexual activity, wealth, partying, violence and the use of drugs.

This analysis of 793 of the most popular songs in the youth market between 2005 and 2007 found that about 25% of the songs that mention alcohol also mention a brand name. This represents about 3.4 alcohol brand appearances per song-hour. Given that the average adolescent is exposed to about 2.5 hours of popular music per day, young people's annual exposure to alcohol brand references in popular music is substantial. The consequences that these songs associated with alcohol were more often positive than negative (41.5% vs. 17.1%). Alcohol brand appearances were commonly associated with wealth (63.4%), sex (58.5%), luxury objects (51.2%), partying (48.8%), other drugs (43.9%), and vehicles (39.0%).

The investigators note that frequent exposure of young people to brand-name references in popular music may constitute a form of advertising and could contribute to the early initiation and maintenance of substance use among adolescents. Typically, brand-name references to alcohol are strongly associated with positive feelings and associations, which are often the goal of advertisements. The brands found in music, such as Patron Tequila, Grey Goose Vodka, and Hennessey Cognac, represent the same distilled spirits brands that are increasingly named as favourites by underage drinkers, especially women.

The authors suggest that the relatively high level of brand-name alcohol appearances in popular music may be a consequence of strengthening ties between the alcohol and music industries.
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Contact: Jean O'Reilly
jean@addictionjournal.org
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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