As we all settle back into our random routines and reflect on yet another Labor Day holiday gone past, it seems there’s been some funny business going on that caught my attention.
It’s no big secret that companies tap artists to inject product placement ideas into some music… But I’m sure nobody knew how far the advertisement goes –particularly in hip-hop.
Today’s “hit” songs are nothing more than highly evolved advertisements that may be brainwashing you to drink, smoke or partake in activity’s unbecoming of your spirit, and your powerless to stop it.
Research has revealed a very disturbing new trend in the music business.
Get your mind right because we’re going in…
Advertising in music goes back 50 years since it’s radical inception, but what’s striking is that most don’t know that only four brands account for a substantial percentage of alcohol subliminal type messages in ‘hit’ records.
“Many of the artists of these songs—particularly within the urban genre—have agreements with alcohol companies to promote their brand,” a research team led by Dr. Michael Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health writes in the journal Substance Use and Misuse.
“Thus, alcohol companies may be indirectly promoting brand-specific alcohol use among underage youth through sponsorship of popular artists.” [Source]
Backing his ideas up with facts, Dr. Siegel utilized tons of Billboard data from 2009-20011. And the results were startling. Out of a total of 720 songs, 167 of which referenced alcohol. And of those, 46 (or 6.4 percent of the total) mentioned a specific brand of booze.
Those references “are concentrated among a small number of brands,” the researchers report. “Four brands alone—Patron tequila, Hennessy cognac, Grey Goose vodka, and Jack Daniel’s whiskey—accounted for more than half of all alcohol brand mentions.”
More than two-thirds of these references occurred in urban songs; surprisingly, “there were no alcohol brand mentions in any of the rock songs,” the researchers write. “Within urban songs, alcohol brand mentions were concentrated among a small number of artists.
“Nearly all of the brand mentions for Patron, Hennessy, Remy Martin, Grey Goose, Ciroc, Cristal and Moet occurred in urban songs, whereas 4 of the 5 brand mentions for Jack Daniel’s occurred in pop and country songs, and 9 of the 12 references to brands of beer were in country songs.”
No matter where you stand on ‘spirits,’ you can’t argue the numbers. And seeing that so many of us are partying like ‘rockstars’ when at the club or attending a social gathering, the notion that the music being played can steer you one way or another, as far as that drink in your hand goes, is a scary one that definitely needs to be addressed.
Rap music, culturally was about telling the poetry of the streets. And to know now that the genre I love is pumping out willful alcohol-themed rhymes for a check brings up the chicken-and-egg question of whether the art in question is simply mirroring the culture, or actually influencing behavior. Underage kids, after all, were experimenting with liquor long before the rap era.
And while I’m still pondering on where exactly I stand on this issue, Rihanna’s “Pour It Up” is playing on my Apod and suddenly I feel the need for a pomegranate mojito.