UNDER THE INFLUENCE: Links between music and alcohol consumption

La Trobe University researchers want to know if alcohol-related references in music influence our drinking habits.

They have been conducting a systematic review of 23 studies examining the prevalence of alcohol-related content in music lyrics and music videos.

Part of the research examines data from a 2011 study in bars that showed playlists with songs that included references to alcohol were associated with higher customer spending on alcoholic beverages than playlists featuring the same artists but no alcohol references.

“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,” La Trobe PhD student and project researcher, Gedefaw Alen, said.

12,224 songs were analysed for the research, with 24% containing at least one alcohol reference in either the lyrics or videos.

The alcohol references or imagery included explicit mentions of alcoholic beverages, alcohol containers, drinking behaviours, characters drinking, bar settings, alcohol brands or logos, and expressions of altered states.

To find out more about the research visit