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Previous research has not directly addressed the relationship between alcohol consumption and music. Lang, Stockwell, Rydon, and Lockwood (1995) found that both high levels of alcohol consumption and risk for self harm were found on premises where customers were dancing and listening to music. Alcohol consumption was clearly linked to the presence of music. Smith (1995) studied the effects of exposure to violent music and consumption of alcohol on aggressiveness. He found that individuals exposed to violent heavy metal music, even when they consumed low doses of alcohol, exhibited aggressive behaviors, more so than the control group. It was made clear through Smith’s research, that a relationship between alcohol and music exists, but the relationship between these two variables was not proved to be causal. Also making the connection between consumption of alcohol and music, Knibbe, van-de-Goor, and Drop (1993) conducted an observational study of young peoples’ drinking rates in public drinking establishments. The authors (Knibbe, van-de-Goor, and Drop, 1993) found that drinking rates were higher when, “the music was very loud.”
Also investigating the relationship between alcohol and music, Martinez (1992) conducted an investigation of the direct relationship between music and alcohol consumption at Bolivian Indian ritual fiestas. The fiesta involved, “the proper integration of music and alcohol to invoke the spirit world” (Martinez, 1992). According to Martinez (1992), music was used as a method to stimulate the Bolivian Indians consumption of alcohol. It was made clear that music, at least in terms of the Bolivian Indians, clearly effected the amount of alcohol consumed.
Running parallel with Martinez’s research on the use of alcohol to stimulate and individual’s religious experience, Zinberg (1984) researched alcohol’s ability to increase ones sense of euphoria. Zinberg (1984) stated that alcohol speeds up an individual’s mood, either increasing depression or euphoria, in harmony with pre-existing circumstances. The setting of a music club, and type of music played would be an example of these already present conditions. Zinberg (1984) studied marijuana users as well as alcohol users, and found that many of the marijuana users began using the drug while listening to music. “Some claimed that marijuana slowed down the time sense so that they could hear and experience music more explicitly and precisely, note by note, theme by theme” (Zinberg, 1984). The connection of marijuana to music points to a connection between alcohol and music. Marijuana and alcohol are both substances, which alter an individual’s state of consciousness and perception of reality. Alcohol use has clearly been present in the actual songs of musicians for years. According to Robinson (1999), “27 percent of songs had depictions of alcohol, tobacco or illicit drug use.” A link between the content of the music performed, concerning the mentioning of alcohol, and alcohol consumption is clearly present in the works of modern day musicians.
While previous research refers to the mentioning of alcohol and other drugs in the creative works of musicians, we intend discover whether music has a direct relationship with the alcohol consumption of concertgoers. In the end, high alcohol consumption transforms into profit seen by the venue. North and Hargreaves (1996) referred to a study, which found that overall sales and the in store traffic flow varied depending on the tempo of in store and restaurant music (Millman, 1982).
Overall, previous research concerning the relationship of alcohol consumption to music does not go into relative type of music with the variable of alcohol consumption. This study examined the direct relationship between the type of music performed at music venues, and the overall amount of alcohol consumed at those venues on those particular nights. This study hypothesized that: 1). The overall alcohol consumption during rock concerts would be higher than the overall alcohol consumption during hip-hop, reggae, and country concerts, 2.) The overall liquor consumption would be higher than the overall liquor consumption during country, reggae, or hip-hop concerts, 3). The overall beer consumption at country concerts would be higher than the overall beer consumption at hip-hop, reggae, and country concerts. The independent variable for the study was music type, with the levels of rock, and non-rock. The dependant variables were alcohol consumption and type of alcohol consumed at each concert. It was expected that the overall consumption during rock concerts would be high, because rock concerts are louder and significantly more violent than any other type of concert.
The participants were concertgoers attending concerts at two music venues on particular nights chosen by the researchers. The study actually involved the collective consumption rates of the participants, and therefore each particular night at each venue made up one subject of study. The concertgoers were 18 years of age or older, and consisted of both males and females. Each venue has a maximum capacity of 1,000 people, and thus the combined consumption of those 1,000 accounted for each piece of datum. The participants were not recruited and had no idea that they were being studied, as the study was based on archival data and involved no direct interaction between the participants and the researchers. The researchers did obtain permission to use the data from the appropriate managers or owners of the two venues.
As this study was purely archival in nature, few materials were necessary. After letters of permission were signed, the appropriate manager of the music venue filled out a short 5-part questionnaire, at least two per night for each genre of music. The questionnaire was filled out with a pencil, and contained questions regarding alcohol consumption and concert attendance. An example of the questionnaire may be found in Appendix A. A total of 8 questionnaires were distributed to the two music venues studied, with four going to each. The managers of each venue filled out questionnaires for at least two of each of the following genres: 1.) rock, 2.) country, 3.) hip-hop, and 4.) reggae.
The study utilized a non-experimental design, of an archival nature. The data was collected after the music events had taken place, and the researchers controlled nothing at those events. The study was a between group comparison, as each particular night at each venue made up one subject of study. Each of the nights differed from one another and the same concertgoers were not present. The independent variable was music genre performed, with the levels of rock, hip-hop, reggae, and country. Rock music was operationally defined as a music type named rock by the venue. Non-rock music was operationally defined as music named country, reggae, or hip-hop by the venue in question. The dependent variables were alcohol consumption and type of alcohol served. Alcohol consumption was operationally defined using a once ounce shot and beer as points of reference. The alcohol consumption was measured by calculating the number of total servings sold. A one-ounce shot of liquor constituted one serving, and a can, bottle or 12 ounce cup of beer constituted one serving as well. A mixed drink made with two shots or a “double” constituted two servings. Type of alcohol contained the levels of liquor or beer. The archival techniques used to complete the study, allowed for no controls to be implemented by the researchers upon the variables.
The concertgoers had no idea that they were being studied and were not directly contacted by the researchers. The appropriate managers of the two music venues were first asked to sign consent forms, stating that they would willing provide information concerning ticket and alcohol sales. The researchers distributed four questionnaires each, to both of the managers. The questionnaires all contained the same eight questions and only differed in that they each asked the managers to provide information on a different night. The managers filled out one questionnaire for a rock, reggae, hip-hop and country show. After the managers filled out the forms, the researchers informed the managers that the names of the venues would not be made public knowledge and also that the results of the findings would be presented to those individuals at the conclusion of the study.
Our second hypothesis concerned the overall per capita liquor (non-beer, non-wine, measured in 6 ounce shots) consumption for each genre of music. We found that the overall per capita liquor consumption at rock shows (mean=2.79, s=.38) was higher than the overall per capita liquor consumption at hip hop (mean=1.26, s=.40), reggae (mean=1.79, s=.45), and country (mean=1.07, s=.30) shows. The overall per capita liquor consumption data for each night were entered into a one-way BS-ANOVA, which revealed a significant effect for genre of music [F (3,7) =14.44, p<.05]. LSD post hoc tests indicated that overall per capita liquor consumption at rock concerts was significantly greater than the overall per capita liquor consumption at hip-hop, reggae, and country concerts.
Our third hypothesis concerned the overall per capita beer consumption for each genre ofmusic. We found that the overall per capita beer consumption at country shows (mean=2.72, s=.74) was greater than the overall per capita beer consumption at rock (mean=1.54, s=.32), hip-hop (mean=.55, s=.24), and reggae (mean=1.17, s=.17) shows. The overall per capita beer consumption data for each night were entered into a one-way BS-ANOVA, which revealed a significant effect for genre of music [F(3,7)=9.97, p<.05]. LSD post hoc tests indicated that the overall per capita beer consumption at country shows was significantly greater than the overall per capita beer consumption at rock, hip-hop, and reggae shows.
The second hypothesis of this study was that the overall liquor consumption at rock concerts would be significantly greater than the overall liquor consumption at concerts of any other genre of music. In our sample of 11 concerts, the overall liquor consumption at rock concerts was significantly greater than the overall liquor consumption at hip-hop, reggae, and country concerts. A possible explanation may be that rock concerts attract a younger crowd, which may try to get as drunk as possible for the least amount of money. Liquor produces greater intoxicating effects than beer.
The third hypothesis of this study was that the overall beer consumption at country concerts would be significantly greater than the overall beer consumption at concerts of any other genre of music. In our sample of 11 concerts, the overall beer consumption at country concerts was significantly greater than the overall liquor consumption at rock, hip-hop, and reggae concerts. A possible explanation for the previous finding would be that country music fans are significantly older and more interested in the social aspects of drinking, as opposed to the intoxicating effects of alcohol.
The practical implications of this study are very apparent. With the knowledge of which genre of music contributes to the greatest alcohol consumption, venue owners would be able to maximize their profit. The majority of profits seen by clubs and music venues are accumulated at the bar, and thusly these owners will be able to be one step ahead of the game in stocking bars for the appropriate nights.
In terms of theoretical implications, this study shows that music and alcohol do have a significant relationship with one another. Music styles generating the least alcohol consumption may be used in alcoholic programs to discourage drinking or to act as a type of therapy. The variable of type of music will aid researchers in studying binge drinking more closely. The mean number of drinks for rock concerts was 4.32. Binge drinking is defined as 5 drinks in one sitting. Overall this study has many implications which will further the therapeutic aspects of psychology. Non-rock music might be used to help alcoholic patients through their recovery,
Future research should look at music venues in areas other than New Orleans. This research should also examine a greater number of subjects, 20 shows from each genre would be a significant number. A larger sample would eliminate situational and random chance errors, thus producing more convincing findings.
Future researchers should also examine the types of venues studied more closely. As an example, researchers could compare the alcohol consumption at upscale clubs to the alcohol consumption at cheaper venues. The number of drinks an individual consumes is probably affected by the third variable of drink price. Future researchers should also look more closely at the types of crowds attending each show. Younger fans, in college, will most probably drink more than older music fans.
Alcohol consumption is higher at rock music shows than at hip-hop, reggae, and country shows. It seems that rock music fans drink more alcohol and stronger alcohol than all other genre music fans. Country music fans drink more beer than hip-hop, reggae, and rock music fans. Club and venue owners, with the knowledge gained in our study, can capitalize on bars sales and stock bars to meet the needs of patrons.
Lang, E., Stockwell, T., Rydon, P., & Lockwood, A. (1995). Drinking settings and problems of intoxication. Addiction Research, 3, 141-149.
Martinez, R. (1992). Drink to play, play to drink. Boire pour jouer, jouer pour boire. Relations entre musique et alcool dans la fiesta des Jalq’a (Bolivie) [Relationships between music and alcohol at the Fiesta of the Jalq’s (Bolivia)]. Cahiers-de-Sociologie-Economique-et-Culturelle, Ethnopsychologie, 18, 63-78
North, A., & Hargreaves, D. (1996). Resonses to music in aerobic exercise and yogic relazation classes. British Journal of Psychology, 87, 537-548.
Robinson, J. (1999). Alcohol, tobacco staples of movies, music, study finds. Stanford Report. [On-line]. Available: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/news/report/news/april28/movies-428.html
Smith, B. S. (1995). The effects of exposure to violent lyric music and consumption of alcohol on aggressiveness. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 56, 3487.
Zinberg, N. E., (1984). Drug, set, and setting: The basis for controlled intoxicant use. New Haven, London: Yale University Press.
Name of Band:________________________
Genre of Music_______________________
Date of Show:________________________
Number of tickets sold (attendance)_________________________
Overall total ($) spent at bar(s)______________________________
Amount (in volume) hard liquor sold__________________________
Number of beers sold _____________________________________
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