FTC Blasts Biz Again, Calls For Age-Based Ratings
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is lambasting the music industry's marketing of violent and explicit material to children in a new report, Billboard Bulletin reports. The findings were part of a laThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is lambasting the music industry's marketing of violent and explicit material to children in a new report, Billboard Bulletin reports. The findings were part of a larger study on how the entertainment industry markets "violent R-rated movies, explicit-content labeled music, and M-rated electronic games" to teens.
The study -- a follow-up report to a similar FTC study in September 2000 -- came at the request of the Senate Commerce Committee.
The study found "improvements" in the music industry's disclosure of parental advisory label information in its advertising. However, it found that labels continue to advertise explicit content "in most popular teen venues in all media."
Unlike the rating programs for movies and electronic games, music industry parental advisory labels do not specifically designate an age for which labeled music may be inappropriate -- an issue over which FTC Commissioner Orson Swindle took music companies to task.
"I think that it is hypocritical for the music industry to claim that it is helping parents by placing a parental advisory label on a CD, while at the same time undermining parents by aggressively marketing the same CD to children," he said in statement.
Swindle argues that the music business should take the lead of movie companies and institute "an age-based and practical rating system."
In late April, an FTC report on the marketing of violent entertainment product to children said the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reneged on its own suggestions and those of the commission. These included the label group's plan to include parental-advisory stickers in print ads and to give clear notice of stickered material at stores and retail Web sites through all phases of a transaction.
In July, RIAA president/CEO Hilary Rosen announced a new campaign to improve awareness of the advisory labels.