July 26, 2005

Spitzer Strikes at Radio Suckage

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at July 26, 2005 4:16 PM

Eliot Spitzer nails Sony for payola:

The state investigation found that Sony BMG, which releases music by acts including Jennifer Lopez, Good Charlotte and Beyoncé, had provided stations with entertainers for station-affiliated concerts or paid for station equipment or other bills in exchange for having its songs played. It also provided vacations and electronic goods for on-air giveaways in a direct trade for airplay. And it hired independent promoters to funnel money to radio stations.

In addition, the investigation found that the company had tried to distort industry airplay charts - creating the false impression that a song was taking off - by paying stations to play its songs as sponsored advertisements. It has also used interns and hired vendors to call radio stations with requests.

I always had the impression that this practice is pretty widespread, and indeed Spitzer is planning to go after the other majors as well. Presumably this can only improve the quality of radio, but I'm inclined to think the Internet and/or satellite radio will continue to marginalize it. And what's up with this:
The company also said it would no longer use "spin programs," in which it pays stations to play songs as commercials, to manipulate the charts.

No! The average mass-produced, paid-for song is still better than the average radio commercial. If the record companies want to buy up commercial time to play music, let them—just don't count it on the charts. (Admittedly, I have a slightly irrational hatred of insipid radio ads.)

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