Payola investigation FORUM: Archive - Beginning April 17, 2003: Payola investigation
Top of pageBottom of page   By mc5rules ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 01:04 pm:

Since payola in radio has been the subject of much discussion on this board, I thought people would be interested in this article:

By Brooks Boliek
ASHINGTON (The Hollywood Reporter) --- The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to launch an investigation into alleged payolalike practices by some of the big radio groups that also own concert venues.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told the Recording Academy on Friday at its annual Entertainment Law Luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York before Sunday's Grammy Awards that he plans to conduct hearings on the issue within a month.

"While I am a strong believer in free markets, I am also a strong believer in the antitrust laws and vigorous competition policy," he said, according to a copy of his speech. "These allegations raise serious competition issues, which my committee will investigate and deal with appropriately. I would expect to hold a hearing on these issues in the coming month to examine the allegations and see how they affect artists and their ability to distribute and promote their music."

The hearing would mark the second time a Senate committee has focused on the issue. Last month, the Senate Commerce Committee conducted a similar hearing, focusing on Clear Channel Communications.

Payola has taken on various forms since the highly publicized scandals of the 1950s and '60s, when rock 'n' roll DJs received direct payments from labels to play songs, prompting federal laws forbidding such direct practices. The 1980s saw the rise of payolalike practices where payments to radio were disguised via third-party independent promoters.

In its current form, there are two payolalike practices. One refers to the fact that radio stations enter exclusive arrangements with independent promoters who guarantee the station a fixed monthly or annual payment. In return, songs "suggested" by such an independent promoter are the most likely to be added to playlists. This practice is allegedly used by Clear Channel and Radio One. The second de facto payola practice occurs when many legitimate independent promoters hired by the labels use the labels' money to pay for airplay.

Clear Channel has been the focus of most payola complaints because it is the nation's largest station group and it owns the nation's largest concert promotion company. During the Commerce Committee hearing, Clear Channel CEO Lowry Mays told lawmakers that the company did not participate in any illegal payola activities.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 01:23 pm:

Here's a good long article about Radio One and its pay for play policy.

Allegations of payola and corporate cruelty crack the glossy facade of Radio One.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Livonia Ken ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 03:12 pm:

I love that quote that they don't participate in any "illegal" payola activities. It would be great if he mentioned, "...but we are very active in the fields of legal and quasi-legal payola activities. " :)


Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 03:22 pm:

I must practise payola-in-reverse. I have to pay record labels money before they let me play their records here at home!

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 04:23 pm:

With all the crap that is played & sold in music today, the labels should be paying the consumer for putting up with this! Then again, that would kill every major label, wouldn't it? :)
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Bob Olhsson ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 06:33 pm:

Imagine how much better the music would be if labels COULD pay to get songs played!

Instead labels pay an entry fee with the station deciding what they'll actually play from focus group "research." The whole thing amounts to extortion.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Eli ( on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 04:51 am:

Bring back the days of the "Fifty Dollar Handshake" only today it would be more like the 10,000 dollar handshake.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Dick Gamble ( on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 08:31 am:

Maybe Senator Hatch is having a little trouble promoting his own music and needs to even the playing field a little. I wonder just how deep his pockets really are?

Top of pageBottom of page   By douglasm ( on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 05:48 pm:

He can have my Curtis Salgato chewing gum, but I will never give up my Grant Lee Buffalo snow dome. Damn. Why couldn't I have failed in radio in a big market and gotten some of this loot.

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