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Drinking alcohol produces a state characterized by memory deficits, confusion, slurred words, visual difficulties, and poor movement coordination (Bishop, 1994). Being that drinking alcohol is often a social behavior, it tends to be consumed in greater quantities during social occasions. Social consumption of alcohol is an ever increasing problem in the United States, because unlikunlike drinking alone at home, social drinking can be extremely dangerous, especially when operating a vehicle is involved. In fact, 50 percent of all traffic deaths in the United States are alcohol related. Surveys have indicated that two thirds of the adult population drinks alcoholic beverages, including 8 percent admitting to heavy consumption and 22 percent indicating moderate consumption (Bishop, 1994).
Drinking, when in large amounts, is called binge-drinking. In a study of 266 freshman college students, researchers looked at the student`s own beliefs about binge-drinking. The purpose was to find if college students thought the consequences outweighed the positive aspects of binge-drinking. Each participant filled out a self-report designed by the researchers, and answered questions surrounding one`s drinking habits. Negative aspects of binge-drinking included involvement in a physical fight, experiencing a blackout, driving an automobile after drinking too much, regretting a sexual situation, and experiencing a headache or other hangover symptoms after drinking. Positive aspects of drinking described that alcohol made positive transformations in individuals, enhanced social behaviors, and caused normative approval. Results showed that the more strongly a participant believed in the positive aspects of binge-drinking, the more likely they were to experience a negative consequence. The importance of this study found that college-aged drinkers do not let the consequences of binge-drinking, outweigh the positive effects on social situations (Turrisi, Wiersma, & Hughes, 2000).
Because college students tend to drink more heavily than any other population, with no regard for the consequences, research by Borsari, Brian, and Carey (1999) looked for an environment that increased drinking. Fraternities were found to provide an enabling environment for social alcohol consumption in this study. Heavy drinking was found to increase during social Fraternity events, such as parties, socials, and formals. In fact, alcohol was found to play the central role in Fraternity socialization (Borsari et al., 1999). This study showed how important the environment surrounding a social occasion plays in drinking.
Besides Fraternity gatherings that seem to play a key role in social drinking, other studies have found yet other environments and elements that promote alcohol consumption. One observational study looked at social drinking behavior amongst 239 male and 146 female adolescents aged 16- 20 on weekend nights in youth bars and disco clubs. Drinking rates, group
variables, and environmental influences were all recorded during the study. After watching the behaviors of adolescents in these social situations, it was found that the highest levels of drinking occurred when the subjects were in a group comprised of the same sex. Male participants were found to drink at much higher rates than females. Also, larger consumption levels were noted when talking was the main activity, and the group was surrounded by loud music (Van de Goor, Knibbe, Drop, 1991).
Music is common part in everyday life, is prevalent throughout life, and is present in all cultures. Music is heard on television, the radio, at church, at concerts, at dances, and at home. Millions of dollars are spent annually on compact discs and tapes, tickets to concerts, and musical instruments as studied by Davis, Gfeller, & Thaut, 1992. Studies have show that responses to music`s influence are wide-spread and powerful.
The study by Iwanga (1999), conducted on 145 male and female college students found that excitative and sedative music have an effect on an individual`s physiological responses following a 5 minute exposure to music. Symphonies composed during the Romantic Period were used and classified as excitative or sedative according to Taylor`s 1973 Standards of Classification. The important findings were that excitative music, especially when it was the preference of the subject, influenced physiological responses in participants. These responses included significant increases in heart rate,
respiratory rate, and blood pressure (Iwanga, 1999).
Not only does music affect one physiologically, but it can also have an affect on emotions including anger and arousal (Gowensmith & Bloom 1997). Both traits were examined before and after a five minute exposure to Heavy Metal music by two groups of participants. The groups were divided into declared Country music fans and declared Heavy Metal fans. Anger was determined using The State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory, which measured prior and current intensity of anger. Arousal was determined using The Activation-Deactivation Adjective Checklist, which measured energy, tiredness, tension, and calmness. There was no difference between the groups during the pretest. Following exposure to Heavy Metal music, Heavy Metal fans tested higher for arousal but very low for anger, where as Country music fans tested lower for arousal and higher for anger. When exposed to Country music, Heavy Metal fans showed no significant level for arousal. Country music fans tested high for arousal, though not as significantly as the results from Heavy Metal exposure. Both groups showed no significant level of anger after listening to the Country music. The important finding was the relationship found between loud, intense music
and higher levels of arousal, especially when the music was of the individual`s preference (Gowensmith et al., 1997).
Music can have effects on other emotions than anger and arousal in the listener. In the Study by Stratton and Zalanowski (1999) mood was correlated with music preference. Two questionnaires were used in this study. The first listed types of music to note individual preference. The list included Rock, Heavy metal, Oldies, Country, Dance/pop, R&B/soul, jazz, Easy listening, Rap, and Classical. The second questionnaire, Multiple Affect Adjective Check list, assessed the participant`s anxiety, depression, hostility, positive affect, and sensation seeking while listening to preferred music. Rock music was found to be the most preferred music and was positively correlated with depression, anxiety, and sensation seeking. It was also negatively correlated with positive affect. Classical music was positively correlated with depression, anxiety, and hostility. Country music was positively correlated with sensation seeking. None of the other types of music elicited significant results (Stratton et al., 1999). This study showed an important relationship between an individual`s mood during the type of music they enjoy listening.
Live music concerts are a chance to hear preferred types of music for an individual. According to past research one should be: aroused, physiologically excited, with a positive affect and a sensation seeking attitude when attending a show. These concerts are a large social occasion, often with numbers in the thousands. Thus, being that live music concerts are social events, providing patrons with similar taste in music a chance to consume alcohol, it would seem that these shows would promote heavy drinking. However, there has not been any research to look at a possible relationship between alcohol consumption and the genre of music being performed.
This study looked at four different genres of music to see if any one style of live music had a greater influence on alcohol consumption and the type of alcohol consumed. Genre of music used were Rock, Hip-Hop/Rap, Reggae/Ska, and Country. Type of alcohol included liquor, bottled beer, and draft beer. It was hypothesized that the Rock genre would produce the greatest amount of collective consumption by patrons at live concerts than the other genres. The reasoning being that as shown in past research, Rock seems to be the preferred style of music for most people. Also, Rock was one of the loudest and most excitative genres used, and past research has also pointed to loud, excitative music as exacerbating some causes of alcohol consumption. It was further hypothesized that the Rock genre would produce the greatest liquor consumption and that the Country genre would yield the highest beer consumption.
This study looked at collective consumption of patrons at a live music concert. No information surrounding the drinking rates of individual participants was collected. Therefore, they were not the object of study. Participants of the study actually consisted of the eleven different concerts from which data was collected. Four Rock shows, three Country shows, two Hip-hop/Rap shows, and two Reggae/Ska shows were studied. Maximum number of attendees for each show was 1000. Minimum age for the study was 21, and wrist bands were used to designate those persons. Because the concert attendees were unaware of the study, they were not recruited. Permission was obtained from the owner and the manager of the venues to gather all information for the study.
Two music venues were used, both located in downtown New Orleans. Both have 1000 tickets available for each show. Permission forms were given to the owner of the Howlin` Wolf and the manager of the House of Blues.
Ticketweb and ticketmaster were used to determine ticket sells before shows. At the door, a mechanical hand-counter was used to count individual participants. Wrist-bands were attached to the right arm of those over the age of 21, which were hand-counted before and after each concert.
All information was recorded in a consistent manner, as shown in the appendix. Information was charted by venue, genre of music, number of participants, and alcohol consumption of liquor, bottled beer, and draft beer.
Design and Procedure:
This study was a Quasi-experimental, archival study, therefore, all
measurements of alcohol were taken following each show. This experiment also had a between groups design, because the data was compared between the four genres of music. The independent variable was the genre of music being performed at the live concert. There were two dependent variables. The first was the amount of collective consumption of alcohol by the patrons. The second was the type of alcohol, liquor and beer.
The independent variable had the four levels. The genres of music included in the study were defined in the following categories: Rock, Hip-Hop/Rap, Reggae/Ska, and Country.
The average amount of alcohol consumed by the attendees at a particular concert, including the type of alcohol consumed, was measured to note influence by the type of music being performed. Alcohol was defined in categories as liquor, bottled beer, and draft beer. The amount of alcohol consumed at each show was defined and measured as follows:
Liquor was defined as hard alcohol such as vodka, gin, whiskey, and rum. One drink of liquor was defined by one ounce, including shots and drinks with more than one type of alcohol. Therefore, a shot was considered one drink, and a beverage made with two ounces of liquor was defined as two drinks. Entire bottles of alcohol were counted according to their label in ounces, and bottles that were not emptied were hand measured by ounce.
One bottled beer was defined as one drink and counted individually before and after the show. One draft beer was poured into a 12 ounce cup and will be defined as one drink. Draft beer was counted by the number of 12 ounce cups used during each show. Both types of beer were considered in one category and defined as Beer, because one venue does not supply draft beer.
The participants in the study were defined as each separate concert. Within a show were those persons defined as concert attendees and bar patrons. The number of attendees was determined through ticket sales and hand counting those who entered the door. Being that neither venue allows consumption of alcohol by minors, under-aged drinking was controlled through wrist bands given at the door.
For each live concert, a tally sheet was filled out recording venue, genre of music being performed, number of tickets sold, and alcohol consumed during the show by liquor and beer.
Permission was obtained from the owner and the manager of the venues to use the facilities and gather information about the number of participants and alcohol sold during each show. All results, including alcohol type and consumption, found throughout the study were given to the owner and manager of the venues.
Mean Consumption of Alcohol for
Genres of Music
Genre of Beer Liquor Total Alcohol
Music Consumed* Consumed* Consumed*
M 1.53 2.78 4.32
SD 0.55 0.38 0.64
M 2.72 1.07 3.79
SD 0.74 0.29 1.03
M 0.55 1.26 1.81
SD 0.24 0.39 0.64
M 1.17 1.86 2.97
SD 0.17 0.84 0.62
*Total Collective Consuption of
patrons at live concerts of
The data was entered into a one-way BS-ANOVA for analysis. The first test revealed a significant influence by the different music genre being
performed at a live concert on the total amount of alcohol consumed [F (3,7) = 5.21; p = 0.033]. The Post Hoc LSD test further indicated the Rock genre generated a significantly greater collective consumption of alcohol than Hip-Hop/Rap (mean difference = 2.16; p = 0.007). Also, the Country genre was significantly greater than Hip-Hop/Rap (mean difference = 1.98; p = 0.026). These results do not completely support the hypothesis that the Rock genrewould produce the greatest amount of collective alcohol consumption, because there were no significant differences between Rock, Country, and Reggae.
The second BS-ANOVA test revealed a significant difference in the amount of liquor consumed between the genres [F(3,7) = 14.44; p = 0.002]. The Post Hoc LSD analysis further found that Rock significantly generated greater liquor consumption than Country (mean difference = 1.72; p = 0.001), Hip-Hop (mean difference = 1.52; p = 0.002), and Reggae (mean difference = 0.99; p = 0.018). Therefore, the hypothesis that live concerts comprised of the Rock genre would produce the greatest liquor consumption was supported by the results.
Finally, total beer consumption was entered into a one-way BS-ANOVA which also revealed a significance between the genres [F(3,7) = 9.97; p = 0.006]. The Post Hoc LSD test then revealed that the Country genre produced significantly greater beer consumption than Rock (mean difference = 1.18; p = 0.012), Hip-Hop (mean difference = 2.17; p = 0.001), and Reggae (mean difference = 1.55; p = 0.008). These results supported the hypothesis that live concerts with in the Country genre would produce greater total beer consumption than shows of other genres.
This study showed that live music concerts do promote the behavior of heavy social drinking. In fact, more than three drinks (mean= 3.4732) was the average amount of alcohol consumed by a patron at a live music concert. This coincides with the study by Van de Goor et al. which observed heavy drinking in social situations surrounded by loud music.
This study also coincides with the research of Stratton et al. which found Rock music to be the most perfered genre of music, and linked the genre with sensation seeking tendencies. This study showed collective drinking to be at its highest when the music being performed was Rock.
The research by Turrisi et al. detailed the problems of binge drinking amoung college students. Their study described consequences versus the positive influences of heavy social drinking. This study showed that drinking is heavy at music concerts, and can even lead to binge-drinking amoungst those attending the concert.
There were several problems within the study that may have affected the validity and should be taken into consideration for further research. First, data should have been collected from more shows within each genre. This would possibly eliminate extreme results from shows taken on different nights of the week. For example, a concert on a Friday night might produce greater collective consumption than a show on a Wednesday night. This was a variable not looked at during the study. Second, some of the data were collected during Mardi Gras which may have produced inflated results. It is felt that drinking rates could have been more influenced by the holiday than the music being performed. Finally, there were some distinct differences between the two venues used that may have effected results. One venue charges more for alcoholic beverages and for tickets to the concert than the other venue. This may influence how much a patron drinks at the venue, though there were no significant differences found in this data between the two venues.
The implications of this study are two-fold. First, the information is important to the continuing studies surrounding social drinking behaviors.
It was shown by the results that drinking is heavy at live music concerts, with more than three drinks consumed by the average patron. In fact, within the Rock genre, the average amount of alcohol consumed by individual patrons was over four drinks (mean= 4.342). This is incredibly important, because for women four drinks constitutes binge-drinking. Also, the positive influences surrounding music and its effects on people have been studied in great detail. Music has been shown to affect mood, anxiety, and physiological responses. However, the negative influences of music have been yet to be researched. This study shows one negative influence, the tendency of live music to effect alcohol consuption. Certainly, the social aspect of the live music concert has a great influence on alcohol consumption, but the results found in this study lead to the possibility that some genres of music when perfomed live, greatly affect the amount of alcohol one consumes.
Secondly, this study will also aid in allowing small venues to capitalize on live music concerts. Profits from alcohol sales are how small venues make money, because the ticket sales go to the artists and production fees. Since one can charge more for a liquor beverage than a beer, it is important to understand which genres will produce the greatest amount of liquor consumption and thus, more revenue. This study showed that the Rock genre would seem to generate the most money for a small music venue.
Country would also allow a venue to capitalize on alcohol sales, though most revenue would be generated through beer as opposed to liquor sales.
Future research might look into what type of liquor (gin, vodka, rum, etc.) and beer (Budwiser, Miller, Abita, etc.) are sold at the different genres. This might aid in the venues providing specials at certain shows in order to increase profits. For example, if the Country genre sells mostly Tennessee Whiskey and Budwiser, the venue might have a two for one special, enticing patrons to buy more alcohol.
Future research might also consider other genres of music, Heavy Metal, Funk, Jazz, etc., and the alcohol consumption at those live shows. Also, looking at other venues and locations outside New Orleans, might produce different results and provide a more accurate picture of the greater population, because it is believed that alcohol consumption is higher in New Orleans than other cities. Finally, if data was collected from concerts noting the night of the week, one might find that binge-drinking may become a factor during those shows presented on Friday and Saturday nights.
This study was the first to look at the possible influence of music on alcohol consumption at live music concerts. Music has a tremendous influence on everyone, and most of its influence is highly positive and healthy. However, music, when performed live, does seem to affect an individual`s sensation seeking tendencies and lead them to consume heavy
amounts of alcohol. In conclusion, this study, despite its flaws, has opened up new opportunities to study social drinking patterns at live music concerts and allow venue owners to increase their profits.
Borsari, B. E., & Carey, K. B. (1999). Understanding fraternity drinking: Five recurring themes in the years 1980- 1998. Journal of American College Health,48, 30-37.
Davis, W. B., Gfeller, K. E., & Thaut, M. H. (1992). Music Therapy. Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown Publishers.
Gowensmith, W. N., & Bloom, L. J. (1997). The effects of heavy metal music on arousal and anger. Journal of Music Therapy, 34, 33-45.
Iwanga, M. (1999). Subjective and physiological responses to music stimuli controlled over activity and preference. Journal of Music Therapy, 36, 26-38.
Stratton, V. N., & Zalanowski, A. H. (1999). The relationship between characteristic moods and most commonly listened to types of music. Journal of Music Therapy, 36, 145-152.
Turrisi, R., Wiersma, K. A., & Hughes, K. K. (2000). Binge-drinking related consequences in college student: Role of drinking beliefs and mother- teen communications. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors [On-line]. Available: www.apa.org/journals/adb/abd144342.html
Van de Goor, L. A., Knibbe, R. A., & Drop, M. J. (1990) Adolescent drinking behavior: An observational study of the influence of situation factors on adolescent drinking rates. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 51, 548-555.
Number of tickets sold:_____________
Number of wrist bands:_____________
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