The Federal Trade Commission found Tuesday that all five major record companies have placed ads for "explicit-content" music - from the likes of hate-spewing Eminem and Marilyn Manson - on TV shows and in magazines that cater to consumers under age 17.
Hollywood aggressively markets sex and violence to minors in movies, TV, music and video games, the FTC concluded in a report last fall. The recording industry has failed to clean up its act, Chairman Robert Pitofsky said Tuesday.
Although movie and videogame marketing has shown
a little improvement, "the music industry response ... has been disappointing in its failure to institute positive reforms to its self-regulatory structure."
Ads for explicit music failed to indicate that the product was labeled with a parent advisory, that the rating stickers were often too small to be legible, and that no information was provided explaining why the music received a warning sticker, the report said.
Tom Vickers, a former executive at A&M, Capitol and Mercury labels, told USA Today: ''There is no denying that musical content has become both more violent and sexual over the past 10 years. The record business's defense is that pop music has always pushed the envelope. But we've pushed the envelope off the desk and into the gutter.''
The powerful music industry, which targets children for the sale of such hate-spewing "artists" as Eminem and Marilyn Manson, scrambled to try to defend itself even before the
report was released. Hilary Rosen, president of Recording Industry Association of America,
issued a statement saying that her industry supports clear labeling of
explicit material, but that rating content is difficult at best.
"Music is unique," said Rosen. "For the same reason that there is no
rating system for books, the works of musical artists are not rated by age
or content specificity, as it is virtually impossible to categorize
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn. - the recipient of millions of campaign dollars from Hollywood - is expected to introduce legislation this week intended to sanction entertainment companies that market violent images
Though critics say there are First Amendment problems with Lieberman's proposal, all segments of the entertainment industry would be wise to pay attention, Terry Press, head of marketing for the DreamWorks film studio, told USA Today.
''The argument of responsibility in the culture is going to go across all forms of expression, movies, TV, records and video games,'' Press said. ''There has been a definite sea change in the movie business since the report. They know somebody's watching.''
Said Vickers: ''Everyone in the entertainment field hopes this issue will go away. It is not going away.''
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