Blink-182, Crazy Town Too Explicit For Teens, Report Says

Government report blasts recording industry for marketing "explicit content music" to kids.

The recording industry hasn’t lived up to its promise to stop marketing music with explicit lyrics to kids, a government report says.

In a follow-up to its September 2000 report called “Marketing Violent Entertainment to Children,” the Federal Trade Commission found that labels continued to advertise “explicit content music” on television programs and in magazines with a large under-17 audience. The report, issued Tuesday (April 24), specifically cites TV ads for Blink-182, Crazy Town, Rage Against the Machine, DMX and Ja Rule running during after-school and early evening programming on MTV, UPN and BET (all three networks are owned by MTV’s parent company, Viacom).

Furthermore, the report accuses music labels of failing to put parental advisory warnings in print advertising and on online retail sites, citing that only 45 of 147 print ads for explicit recordings in Seventeen, Teen People, Spin and other magazines included the warning label. The report added that even when the black-and-white logo does appear, it’s often too small to be read clearly.

“The music industry response, at least so far, has been disappointing in its failure to institute positive reforms,” said FTC chairman Robert Pitofsky in a statement accompanying the report.

While agreeing that the music industry needs to “do a better job of following our own guidelines,” Recording Industry Association of America president Hilary Rosen defended the parental advisory sticker program and said it has strengthened those guidelines. The RIAA implemented policies late last year to include the advisory label in print advertisements and urged online retailers to display the label prominently.

“Unfortunately, the FTC report followed too quickly on the heels of our implementation of these new efforts,” Rosen said in a statement Tuesday.

In the lone note of praise for the music industry, the FTC said that 40 percent of the Web sites it surveyed included lyrics, so that parents could examine content before buying or allowing their children to buy the music.

Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, who’s long been a critic of the entertainment industry, will introduce legislation on Thursday that would give the FTC authority to punish record labels, movie studios and video game manufacturers for advertising explicit content to kids, according to a spokesperson in his office.

The report said that the movie and video game industries have scaled back advertising of R-rated films and M-rated games, though it said that more needs to be done by both industries.