Comparing the Prevalence of Alcohol, Combustible and Electronic Cigarettes, Hookah, and Marijuana, in Music Videos Across 6 Genres of Popular Music From 2014-2020
To determine the frequency of alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes/cigars, e-cigarettes, and hookah portrayals in popular music lyrics and videos on YouTube across 6 genres over 7 years; assess percent change over the years, document brand placement, and determine the frequency of promotion of substances/devices by Teen Choice Award celebrities.
This study analyzed 699 songs from the Billboard Hot 100 between 2014 and 2020. Two raters coded 10% of the songs to establish inter-rater reliability and the remaining songs were reviewed by one rater.
The majority of songs (59.2%) on YouTube included either lyrical or video depictions and 20.6% included both. Songs that featured substances/devices were viewed 148 billion times on YouTube as of February 2021. Nearly 25% of videos depicting substances/devices featured branding. Forty-three (18.22%) of the music celebrities who featured substances/devices in their videos received one or more Teen Choice Awards during the study period.
Popular music celebrities promote substance use in their lyrics and music videos, which are easily accessible to children and adolescents. Some of these celebrities are highly popular and influential among adolescents.
Findings support the need to limit the promotion of these substances to youth by influencers to reduce substance use and misuse.