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Study Says Teenagers Are Bombarded with Alcohol Brand Name-Dropping in Music

Sean 'Diddy' Combs
Scott Gries, Getty Images

In a new study published Thursday, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Dartmouth University found that American teens who listen to music hear about 34 name-brand references to alcohol every day — something that could contribute to teen substance abuse.

Rap, R&B and hip-hop music take the brunt of the blame, with researchers saying they promote a “luxury lifestyle characterized by degrading sexual activity, wealth, partying, violence and the use of drugs.” And while alcohol companies do not explicitly market to underage drinkers, they do sometimes reward artists with sponsorships if songs containing their brand names do well.

What’s more, many of the brands often cited in music — Patron Tequila, Grey Goose Vodka and Hennessey Cognac — are among those named as favorites by underage drinkers, especially young women.

But Frank Coleman, spokesman for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, cited 2010 government statistics showing that underage drinking and binge drinking are at “an all-time low,” even though the popularity of rap music has risen.

Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of media, culture and communications at New York University, said, “It’s not possible to solve the problem through some stroke of policy or regulation. There’s really not much to do except point it out and get parents and kids themselves and some musicians to notice and do something about it.”

[ABC News]

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