U.S. Senate, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Washington, DC.
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:40 a.m., in room SR-253, Russell Senate Office Building, Hon. John Danforth (chariman of the committee) presiding.
Staff members assigned to this hearing: Kathy Meier, staff counsel; Dale Brown, professional staff member; and Cheryl Wallace, minority staff counsel.
The CHAIRMAN. Ladies and gentlemen, this hearing is on the subject of the content of some, and I want to underscore the word "some," not all rock music, which it has been pointed out by a number of people as having really broken new ground as to the content of music and the lyrics that are used in music.
There have, I suppose, always been cases of songs that are suggestive in one way or another. However, certain rock music that is now being sold deals very explicitly with sexual subjects. Some music glorifies violence in various forms, sexual violence. Some music advocates the use of drugs, drug abuse, and so on.
And so, the reason for this hearing is not to promote any legislation. Indeed, I do not know of any suggestion that any legislation be passed. But to simply provide a forum for airing the issue itself, for ventilating the issue, for bringing it out into the public domain.
The concern is that the public at large should be aware of the existence of this kind of music, and the fact that it is now available to kids, and that kids of all ages are able to buy it.
It is my understanding that various private groups have been holding discussions with people who are in the music publishing and music industry to try to achieve some sort of understanding with respect to the labeling of records so that at least the whole family knows what is in them, and not just the child who buys the record.
That seems to me to be a reasonable suggestion, but the point of this hearing is not for me to make any particular suggestions, but to simply provide forum so that the whole issue can be brought to the attention of the American people.
I want to say a word about this hearing. We have a number of witnesses. They have all been given specific time limits for their testimony, as is always the case in Commerce Committee hearings. ...