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Payola Scam


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"DJs were paid

to play that tune

Spitzer probe finds gigantic payola scam; Sony will pay $10M



Sick of lousy songs on the radio?

Blame it on a corrupt record business that skews the Top 40 by giving free trips and other goodies to radio programmers - and cold cash to radio stations to play their artists, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer charged yesterday.

Big-name artists like Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion and Good Charlotte got airtime on the radio because their labels gave away computers and trips to Las Vegas, according to telltale industry E-mails Spitzer uncovered - and revealed yesterday.

"Payola is pervasive. It reaches to the very top of the industry, on the radio side and the label side," Spitzer said yesterday as he announced the first settlement in his probe of pay-for-play in the music industry.

Sony BMG Music Entertainment agreed to pay $10 million to charity to settle Spitzer's charges.

But he has subpoenaed three other record companies - and said some record labels and radio stations are breaking the law - in what could be the biggest payola scandal since the 1950s.

"We are far along with the other three labels. We have received documents and are in conversations with them," Spitzer said. "This investigation began with the labels. We have obviously expanded out to the radio stations."

The sleazy deals were no surprise to music fans like Patricia Hatcher of Brooklyn, who was shopping at Tower Records in Greenwich Village yesterday.

"You could definitely tell that they were playing the same artists over and over again," said Hatcher, 25. "I assumed that something was going on. It's kind of shady all around."

E-mails and documents from Sony show it paid up to $1,000 to get a new song played on a single radio station, gave contest prizes to deejays instead of listeners, and even hired crews of callers to bombard stations' request lines, Spitzer said.

"Payola drives promotion," he said. "It limits the diversity of music that is on-air. It limits the access of artists to airtime, and hence their capacity to succeed."

Sony apologized for its improper conduct and promised to change its ways - and in exchange, sources said, Spitzer agreed not to identify any high-ranking Sony execs by name.

The only Sony employee to lose his job as a result was Joel Klaiman, an executive vice president at Sony subsidiary Epic Records, sources said.

Two radio chains also have fired programmers since Spitzer launched his probe.

Payola long has been a problem in the record business, and independent record promoters were once notorious for giving cash, drugs and prostitutes to deejays to get airtime.

Payola is a state and federal crime, but the Federal Communications Commission has levied just one $8,000 fine in the past decade - compared with the $550,000 fine for Janet Jackson's breast-baring Super Bowl show.

Spitzer said the FCC should look at stripping licenses from the worst radio stations - and an FCC commissioner jumped aboard.

"It's unfair to listeners if they hear songs on the radio because someone was paid off, not because it's good music," said Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein. "We need an ... investigation to determine whether these practices violate federal payola laws."

But the music business may have more to fear from bored fans than from angry regulators.

"They do overplay a lot of music," said Alina Kravchenko, 20, of the upper West Side, browsing in the Times Square MTV store. "I like Jessica Simpson, but even her stuff is overplayed. Sometimes it gets on my nerves. It gets so old that I turn to the Spanish station."

With George Rush"

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I so many times got that doubt when all the music channels over here used to play a certain few artists, who are not big at all, over and over again like brain washing the audience into thinking their music was cool. So I guess these are the cheap tactics used to promote an artist more than using their real talent. :hmm:

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If Sony pays more money for their artists to get airplay, why don't they play Nas much or gave Will better promotion on "Born To Reign"? :hmm:

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^^^ prob cause will don't need it man.. these people are scared i guess buisness is buisness though it explains why i am still hearing that eminem song here in london

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Nelly's albums are not good either, Britney Spears albums are not good, they only sell millions 'cause of marketing not 'cause of skills and there's a lot of great artists that ain't marketed the right way so they won't sell, like you don't know about Aaron Hall's album since he ain't on MTV, so it won't sell but that doesn't mean it's not a good album and "Code Red" is a hip-hop classic but it wasn't marketed the right way so it didn't sell millions and "Lost and Found" won't either if Interscope doesn't market it better, it's all a buisiness homie.

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the radio stations are locked down in a mess of bribes and dodgy ****.. you will never hear different artists or independant artists on the radio :thumbsdown: record labels pay radio stations big dollars to get on their playlist and then they play the same 10 songs every hour.. this is why i never listen to radio :word:

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I still listen to radio, but very seldom. When I first read that, I had mixed feelings abt it, but I guess thats just how the ball rolls. Sony sure has lost quite abit of my respect...



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y'all need to hear "crayola" by public enemy.. its one of my favorite public enemy tracks..

actually heres the lyrics

Stax of wax 55 high fulla tracks

New cats jackin beats from way back

Pay for play only way to get them platinum plaques

Clear the racks jobbers slobbin you for tax

Robbery a&r snobbery

**** is killin me softly wit that same damn song

Makin folk dumber in the summer

A bummer when they shot willie in that hummer

Keep it simple stupid means numbers

Payola dough white owned black radio

Runnin on empty help go the desperado

So i bomb the toms and negros who pray to cash flow

No info to the masses as they shake their asses

No clue but i cant get my **** up in to you

Crayola with that same same ol ****

Crayola with that played playa ****

Crayola with that kid crayon ****

Crayola with them ol spray on hits

All ****ed up ways must fall

Now the industry cant stop me

A vendetta to make the whole game better

They get the cheddar

All i got is a ****in letter

What i owe? What am i

Another number and a ho, they dont know

Time to see em go like dominoes

About time cause they endorsed the crime up in the rhyme

Got these new souls controlled goin outta their mind

Missed what i said cause they dont even own their own heads

Go one go all i forgot they made robots outta some of yall

Today all ****ed up ways must fall

Today is up against the wall

Misled in the head ****ed by quiet storms and love songs

Noddin heads too hollow forgotten tomorrow

Swallowing all that **** thats shallow

Give the baby anything the baby wants

But thats how them bastards get us up in them caskets

Try to get me where they want me

Before some of them jump me

Go tell em im a start a rebellion

Educate the felons easy on yeah

Tell em what the **** am i yellin

No tellin you got them artists and artificials

If it aint right i dont give a damn if its sellin

Recruits chasin and racin for that loot

Usin usual drum loops so i salute my troops

I dont socialize or mingle, **** the promotionals

And you know what and that g-damn single

And the marketing team for that matter

It dont matter

Djs gettin dimes for time on a platter

I aint gotta be high to jack so i hijack

Fm - radio - eff em turn it around mutha****a

Gods to niggas, queens to bitches

Race against time see em all runnin for the riches

Everything had its chance last dance

Some things change like them weather forecasts

Ha funny how **** dont last

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