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Food Beverages, Music

Here’s cheers…are our alcohol and music habits out of tune?

La Trobe University 2 mins read

La Trobe researchers identified that alcohol is referenced in around a quarter of popular songs and nearly a third of music videos according to an article published in Alcohol, Clinical and Experimental Research journal.

As part of this analysis, La Trobe researchers conducted a systematic review of 23 studies examining the prevalence of alcohol-related content in music lyrics and music videos. They also examined studies that tested the associations between exposure to music referencing alcohol and drinking behaviours.

La Trobe PhD student and project researcher, Gedefaw Alen, said 24 per cent of the 12,224 songs analysed contained at least one alcohol-related content in the lyrics or videos. These alcohol references or imagery (on music videos) included explicit mentions of alcoholic beverages, alcohol containers, drinking behaviours, characters drinking, bar settings, alcohol brands or logos, and expressions of altered states.

“It is more important than ever to understand the influence of alcohol-related lyrics on our drinking behaviour because we found that both the number of songs that include a reference to alcohol and the amount of time people spend listening to music are increasing,” Mr Alen said.

Mr Alen said the review revealed that only three articles addressed the association between alcohol references and drinking behaviour, which highlighted that more research was needed to understand how song lyrics could be shaping our relationship with alcohol.

The three articles that focused on the connection between alcohol references and consumption all reported that exposure to music with alcohol references influenced drinking behaviours. A 2011 study in bars showed that playlists with alcohol references were associated with higher customer spending on alcoholic beverages than playlists featuring the same artists but no alcohol references. Similarly, a 2014 study on young people (aged 15 to 23) found that high receptivity, defined as liking and ownership of alcohol-referenced songs, and correctly identifying at least one alcohol brand referenced in the song lyrics were associated with an increased risk of lifetime alcohol use and binge drinking.

Contact details:

Elaine Cooney                  
0487 448 734

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