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All Sony payola threads here (in one new thread)
Old 25th July 2005
  #1
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XHipHop's Avatar
PAYOLA SHOCKER: JLO HITS, OTHERS, WERE 'BOUGHT' BY SONY... DEVELOPING...

According to http://www.drudgereport.com

I expect some nice stories in the next few days.
Old 25th July 2005
  #2
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Payola Shocker: J-Lo Hits, Others Were 'Bought' by Sony

I always say when people ask me that the so-called vipers of the movie business would not last a day in the record business. Now Elliott Spitzer's office has decided to prove the point.

"Please be advised that in this week's Jennifer Lopez Top 40 Spin Increase of 236 we bought 63 spins at a cost of $3,600."

"Please be advised that in this week's Good Charlotte Top 40 Spin Increase of 61 we bought approximately 250 spins at a cost of $17K …"

Ironically, it didn't help, as the memo notes that the company actually lost spins — or plays of the record — even though they laid out money for them.

See above: The internal memos from Sony Music, revealed today in the New York State Attorney General's investigation of payola at the company, will be mind blowing to those who are not so jaded to think records are played on the radio because they're good. We've all known for a long time that contemporary pop music stinks. We hear "hits" on the radio and wonder, "How can this be?"

Now we know. And memos from both Sony's Columbia and Epic Records senior vice presidents of promotions circa 2002-2003 — whose names are redacted in the reports but are well known in the industry — spell out who to pay and what to pay them in order to get the company's records on the air.

From Epic, home of J-Lo, a memo from November 12, 2002, a "rate" card that shows radio stations in the Top 23 markets will receive $1000, Markets 23-100 get $800, lower markets $500. "If a record receives less than 75 spins at any given radio station, we will not pay the full rate," the memo to DJs states. "We look forward to breaking many records together in the future."

Take Jennifer Lopez's awful record, "Get Right," with its shrill horn and lifted rap. It's now clear that was a "bought" sensation when it was released last winter. So, too, were her previous "hits" "I'm Glad" and "I'm Real," according to the memos. All were obtained by Sony laying out dough and incentives. It's no surprise. There isn't a person alive who could hum any of those "songs" now. Not even J-Lo herself.

Announced today: Sony Music — now known as Sony/BMG — has to pony up a $10 million settlement with New York's Attorney General Elliot Spitzer. It should be $100 million. And this won't be the end of the investigation. Spitzer's office is looking into all the record companies. This is just the beginning.

But what a start: Black-and-white evidence of plasma TVs, laptop computers and PlayStation 2 players being sent to DJs and radio programmers in exchange for getting records on the air. And not just electronic gifts went to these people either. According to the papers released today, the same people also received expensive trips, limousines and lots of other incentives to clutter the airwaves with the disposable junk that now passes for pop music.

More memos: "We ordered a laptop for Donnie Michaels at WFLY in Albany. He has since moved to WHYI in Miami. We need to change the shipping address." One Sony memo from 2002: "Can you work with Donnie to see what kind of digital camera he wants us to order?"

Another, from someone in Sony's Urban Promotion department: "I am trying to buy a walkman for Toya Beasley at WRKS/NY.… Can PRS get it to me tomorrow by 3 p.m. … I really need to get the cd by then or I have to wait a week or two before she does her music again …"

Nice, huh? How many times have I written in this column about talented and deserving artists who get no airplay, and no attention from their record companies? Yet dozens of records with little or no artistic merit are all over the radio, and racked in displays at the remaining record stores with great prominence. Thanks to Spitzer's investigation, we now get a taste of what's been happening.

More memos. This one from Feb. 13, 2004: "Gave a jessica trip to wkse to secure Jessica spins and switchfoot." That would be Jessica Simpson, for whom Sony laid on big bucks in the last couple of years to turn her into something she's clearly not: a star.

And then there's the story of a guy named Dave Universal, who was fired from Buffalo's WKSE in January when there was word that Spitzer was investigating him. Universal (likely a stage name) claimed he did nothing his station didn't know about. That was probably true, but the DJ got trips to Miami and Yankee tickets, among other gifts, in exchange for playing Sony records. From a Sony internal memo on Sept. 8, 2004: "Two weeks ago it cost us over 4000.00 to get Franz [Ferdinand] on WKSE."

Franz Ferdinand, Jessica Simpson, J-Lo, Good Charlotte, etc. Not exactly The Who, Carly Simon, Aretha Franklin or The Kinks. The "classic" is certainly gone from rock.

The question now is: Who will take the fall at Sony for all this? It's not like payola is new. The government investigated record companies and radio stations in the late 1950s and again in the mid 1970s. (When we were in high school, we used to laugh about how often The Three Degrees' "When Will I See You Again?" was played on WABC. We were young and naïve!) Spitzer is said to be close friends with Sony's new CEO, Andrew Lack, who publicly welcomed the new investigations earlier this year when they were announced. Did Lack anticipate using Spitzer's results to clean house? Stay tuned …

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,163537,00.html
Old 25th July 2005
  #3
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Sony BMG settles New York radio probe

By Reuters
http://news.com.com/Sony+BMG+settles...3-5803538.html

Story last modified Mon Jul 25 12:08:00 PDT 2005


Sony BMG will pay $10 million to settle a New York State probe into the way the music company influenced which songs were played on the radio, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said Monday.
The investigation centers on a number of "pay for play" practices, widely known as "payola," including paying independent promoters to help secure airtime for songs. Under the Sony BMG settlement, the company agreed to stop making payments to radio stations in exchange for airplay, Spitzer said.

"Instead of airing music based on the quality, artistic competition, aesthetic judgments or other judgments, radio stations are airing music because they are paid to do so in a way that hasn't been disclosed to the public," Spitzer said at a press briefing.

As part of the settlement, Sony BMG admitted that payola "has continued to be an unfortunately prevalent aspect of radio promotion. Sony BMG acknowledges that various employees pursued some radio promotion practices on behalf of the company that were wrong and improper."

Spitzer also said the payola investigation continues at the other three major record companies--Universal Music Group, EMI Group and Warner Music Group, as well as the United States' largest radio companies.

"These practices are pervasive," Spitzer said. "We are far along with the other three labels. We have received documents and are deep in conversations with them about this." He added that he expected that Sony BMG's agreement to stop the payola would be the threshold against which other agreements are made.

Sony's $10 million payment will be distributed to not-for-profit entities that fund New York state programs aimed at music education and appreciation. Spitzer said he didn't know if the payment could count as a charitable tax deduction.

Asked for comment, an EMI spokeswoman referred to a statement by the company in its annual report, which confirmed Spitzer's investigation into the promotion of records on New York stations and said it was co-operating with the inquiry.

"EMI has a longstanding, strict written policy prohibiting unlawful radio promotion practices," the company said. "EMI is not currently aware of any reason for believing that there will be a material financial impact on the group."

Previous Next Universal Music declined to comment, while Warner Music was not immediately available to comment.

Spitzer saved his harshest criticism for the radio companies and called on the Federal Communications Commission, which licenses the airwaves to radio companies, to be more vigorous in fighting payola.

"I would certainly encourage the FCC to take a very hard look at whether something that is this pervasive, something that is so corrosive to the marketplace, should not merely be investigated and pursued but whether some of these stations deserve to have their licenses stripped from them," Spitzer said.

Asked if he thought radio would improve as a result of the settlement, the attorney general laughed and said, "Listen, I don't think anyone wants me to make aesthetic judgments about what's on the air. I've been a Bruce (Springsteen) and Grateful Dead fan for decades. As far as I know, their music is still played on the radio, just not any stations that my kids listen to."

Story Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


Copyright ©1995-2005 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.
Old 26th July 2005
  #4
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Larrchild's Avatar
 

Hasn't this been the accepted buisness model since alan freed?
Every 10 years I read about a scandal.

I thought the goal of a Big Label deal was to gain access to the independent promoters to break your record by crossing the land giving away briefcases of the artists' recoupables?
no?
Old 26th July 2005
  #5
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Hammer v2's Avatar
I'm SHOCKED!!!
Old 26th July 2005
  #6
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

radio stations should of had their frequencies taken away and the label got off cheap for $10M... shoulda been $100M, i mean if the govt REALYL wanted to make a statement against these practices.
Old 26th July 2005
  #7
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Scinx's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphajerk
radio stations should of had their frequencies taken away and the label got off cheap for $10M... shoulda been $100M, i mean if the govt REALYL wanted to make a statement against these practices.
Agreed...
Im still not sure why this is even news...its been around so long and is very widely known...what was the impetetus to go after it now, rather than tomorrow or the next year. Seems more of a political move than anything else
Old 26th July 2005
  #8
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer v2
I'm SHOCKED!!!
As am I. I honestly didn't think anyone still listened to radio.
Old 26th July 2005
  #9
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphajerk
radio stations should of had their frequencies taken away and the label got off cheap for $10M... shoulda been $100M, i mean if the govt REALYL wanted to make a statement against these practices.
agree!
Old 26th July 2005
  #10
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Vermeer's Avatar
 

I am Shocked! Sony Music Admits To Payola.

Like the cop character in Casablanca: "I am shocked to find there's gambling going on here!"

All the details at Yahoo:
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/050725/music_probe.html?.v=11

Exerp:
"In one case, an employee of Sony BMG's Epic label was trying to promote the group Audioslave to a station and asked: "WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET AUDIOSLAVE ON WKSS THIS WEEK?!!? Whatever you can dream up, I can make it happen."

In another case in 2004, the promotion department of Sony BMG label Epic Records paid for an extravagant trip to Miami for a Buffalo DJ and three friends in exchange for adding the Franz Ferdinand song "Take Me Out" to the DJ's station's playlist."

---------------------------

I dunno about you, but I in my mind AudioSlave and Franz Ferdinan were not the first bands I would associate with payola. That goes to show...

Vermeer
Old 26th July 2005
  #11
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XHipHop's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermeer
Like the cop character in Casablanca: "I am shocked to find there's gambling going on here!"

All the details at Yahoo:
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/050725/music_probe.html?.v=11

Exerp:
"In one case, an employee of Sony BMG's Epic label was trying to promote the group Audioslave to a station and asked: "WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET AUDIOSLAVE ON WKSS THIS WEEK?!!? Whatever you can dream up, I can make it happen."

In another case in 2004, the promotion department of Sony BMG label Epic Records paid for an extravagant trip to Miami for a Buffalo DJ and three friends in exchange for adding the Franz Ferdinand song "Take Me Out" to the DJ's station's playlist."

---------------------------

I dunno about you, but I in my mind AudioSlave and Franz Ferdinan were not the first bands I would associate with payola. That goes to show...

Vermeer
Audioslave would DEFINITELY be one of the first bands I'd associate with it...the radio is ruled but what 15 year old kids love. You think 15 year old kids are into Chris Cornell!
Old 26th July 2005
  #12
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T_R_S's Avatar
$10M big deal they just lost last weeks allowance of 25 cents. It's an insult to the public and it will not stop it. They all do it it's nothing new and it won't stop still they put the CEO's and the board of directors in jail.
Old 26th July 2005
  #13
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Jamz's Avatar
Payola is such a nasty word that went out years ago. Haven't you read "Hitmen"?
Today it's called Marketing and Promotion.
Old 26th July 2005
  #14
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junior's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by XHipHop
the radio is ruled but what 15 year old kids love. You think 15 year old kids are into Chris Cornell!
15 year old kids are into whatever has been marketed to them by companies like sony music - it's a circular argument. if all you're fed is a steady diet of sh*t-sandwiches, sooner or later you'll acquire a taste.
Old 26th July 2005
  #15
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heyman's Avatar
"15 year old kids are into whatever has been marketed to them by companies like sony music - it's a circular argument. if all you're fed is a steady diet of sh*t-sandwiches, sooner or later you'll acquire a taste."


People have a misperception about the Big Record labels....

Same **** - Diffrent wrapper......


YOU CAN ALWAYS POLISH A TURD....
Old 26th July 2005
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heyman
People have a misperception about the Big Record labels....

Same **** - Diffrent wrapper......


YOU CAN ALWAYS POLISH A TURD....
???
Old 26th July 2005
  #17
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Marcocet's Avatar
I work at a rock summer camp in the suburbs of Philadelphia (summermusicprograms.com), and I can tell you from experience that lots of these kids are into Audioslave. We have upwards of 150 kids through the camp every summer playing in bands, and I'd say half or more are into harder 90's style rock.

It did always strike me as slightly odd...
Old 26th July 2005
  #18
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Of come on... it's common knowledge. That's LONG been one of the perks of being a rock station program director.

The record companies EMPLOY guys whose main job it is to travel around the country and smooze the program managers. If it's not cash it's other "favors". I know a guy that was the program manager for a big rock station in another town. His thing was high class ho's. So... all the record company guys that came in to push their products knew that... and they would always get him a pair (sometimes more) of the hottest call girls in town (sometimes fly them in). And he always gave their records the turns.

There wasn't any "money" involved... but he was paid... and if you got him good and drunk he would brag about it. It's just part of the business. The big labels have had a STRANGLEHOLD on what got played on the radio for a long time. The downloading of music, etc.. to me is almost like Karmic revenge on them! It's all about to change soon... and who knows... the new model might even allow the musicians to make a little $$$..... naaaaa.... just kidding. That wouldn't be right.


Oh... and yeah.... whatever the deal is with Audioslave.... they kids DO like it. Whether it's because it was pushed down their throats or not... I don't know... but they do like it. And what's not to like? I think they rock too.
Old 26th July 2005
  #19
Funny thing about Audioslave, the production sticks but the music is good if you give it half a chance. It might not be your style but I would much rather see "The Kids" into Audioslave (with a great drummer, bass player and okay guitar player) than... hell just about any other music out there right now.

Don't get me wrong. I like everything musically but music not played by real musicians might not be a good thing for a whole generation of kids to grow up on.

On top of that the new Audioslave CD is actually really really good. Not a huge fan of the production but the music is great I have been really enjoying it. I have not been able to say this in a long time but that is a band I would love to play in.
Old 26th July 2005
  #20
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I think payola's only technically illegal if it's paid directly to the individual.
Old 27th July 2005
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

Sony BMG Admits To Payola

Any comments?


------------------------------------------------------------------


http://www.fmqb.com/Article.asp?id=102902


Sony BMG Admits To Payola As Result Of Spitzer Investigation
July 25, 2005

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has announced an agreement to halt pervasive "pay-for-play" in the music industry, with Sony BMG Music Entertainment acknowledging problems in promotion practices and agreeing to sweeping reforms. Under the agreement, Sony BMG has agreed to stop making payments and providing expensive gifts to radio stations and their employees in return for "airplay" of the company's songs.

"Our investigation shows that, contrary to listener expectations that songs are selected for airplay based on artistic merit and popularity, air time is often determined by undisclosed payoffs to radio stations and their employees," Spitzer said. "This agreement is a model for breaking the pervasive influence of bribes in the industry."

After receiving tips from industry insiders, Spitzer's office conducted a year-long investigation and determined that Sony BMG and its record labels had offered a series of inducements to radio stations and their employees to obtain airplay for the recordings by the company's artists.

The inducements for airplay, a.k.a. "payola," took several forms including: Outright bribes to radio programmers, including expensive vacation packages, electronics and other valuable items; contest giveaways for stations' listening audiences; payments to radio stations to cover operational expenses; retention of middlemen, known as independent promoters, as conduits for illegal payments to radio stations; and payments for "spin programs," airplay under the guise of advertising.

The investigation also revealed that Sony BMG employees took steps to conceal many of the payments to individuals and radio stations, by using fictitious "contest winners" to document the transactions and make it appear as though the payments and gifts were going to radio listeners instead of station employees.

The Assurance of Discontinuance summarizing the Attorney General's findings alleges that the illegal payoffs for airplay were designed to manipulate record charts, generate consumer interest in records and increase sales.

Spitzer said: "Aggressive promotion of products is one of the hallmarks of our economy. We expect it and respect it when done creatively and legally. But the efforts outlined in the Assurance clearly crossed the line and must be curtailed."

Ann Chaitovitz, Director of Sound Recordings for AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) said: "We would like to thank Attorney General Spitzer for examining this pernicious issue. Pay-for-play hurts both recording artists and the public. We look forward to his continuing investigation of the other record labels and the vertically integrated radio station owners."

Under the Assurance, Sony BMG, building on guidelines issued earlier this year in response to the AG's investigation, has agreed to stop making payoffs in return for airplay and will fully disclose all items of value provided to radio stations in the future. Sony BMG also has agreed to corporate-wide reforms, including hiring a compliance officer responsible for monitoring promotion practices and developing and implementing an internal accounting system designed to detect future abuses. This is the first time an entertainment company has agreed to such sweeping reforms.

Sony BMG has also issued a statement acknowledging the improper conduct and pledging to abide by a higher standard.

In addition, the company has agreed to make a $10 million payment for distribution by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to New York State not-for-profit entities in a manner that will inure to the benefit of the residents of the State of New York by funding programs aimed at music education and appreciation.

Spitzer said Sony BMG officials cooperated fully with his investigators and promptly agreed to reforms when the problems were identified. He commended the company for taking steps that should serve as a model for the rest of the industry.

Spitzer also noted that his office continues its broad investigation of pay-for-play practices in the recorded music industry.

Some of the e-mail correspondence obtained during the investigation shows that company executives were well aware of the payoffs and made sure that the company got sufficient airplay to justify these expenditures. In discussing a bribe given to a radio programmer in Buffalo, one promotion executive at Sony BMG's Epic Records wrote to a colleague at Epic: "Two weeks ago, it cost us over 4000.00 to get Franz [Ferdinand] on WKSE. That is what the four trips to Miami and hotel cost . . . At the end of the day, [David] Universal added GC [Good Charlotte] and Gretchen Wilson and hit Alex up for another grand and they settled for $750.00. So almost $5000.00 in two weeks for overnight airplay. He told me that Tommy really wanted him to do it so he cut the deal."

Another Epic employee who was trying to promote the group Audioslave to a Clear Channel programmer asked in an email: "WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET AUDIOSLAVE ON WKSS THIS WEEK?!!? Whatever you can dream up, I can make it happen."

A promotion employee unhappy with the times assigned for spins of the song "I Drove All Night" by Celine Dion wrote this internal email: "OK, HERE IT IS IN BLACK AND WHITE AND IT'S SERIOUS: IF A RADIO STATION GOT A FLYAWAY TO A CELINE [DION] SHOW IN LAS VEGAS FOR THE ADD, AND THEY'RE PLAYING THE SONG ALL IN OVERNIGHTS, THEY ARE NOT GETTING THE FLYAWAY. PLEASE FIX THE OVERNIGHT ROTATIONS IMMEDIATELY."
Old 27th July 2005
  #22
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Payola is what keeps the good music out of the radio stations...

But it's soooo comon and so ooooold!!!!

Even in a small country like COSTA RICA i have heard of Radio Programmers getting flat screen TV's, trips, and other toys for them to play music... it's sad that it works like that but it does, EVERYWHERE...
Old 27th July 2005
  #23
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Gearslutz united!

It is so beautiful when we all agree.


D

Old 27th July 2005
  #24
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i saw this too, and my thought was, a payola bust, how quaint!

music on commercial radio is nothing more than a way for the stations to sell advertising time.

stations do research where listeners vote not so much on what songs they like, but on what songs they hate.... they try and weed out the songs that will make a person actively change the dial. the songs people endure stay in.

so, why this mock outrage when we find out that record companies are trying to buy time on the stations, too?

its not as if commercial radio stations are in the business of breaking new/important/groundbreaking artists...

they're in the business of selling cars, car insurance, car stereos upgrades, and friday night u call it ladies nights...

the only ones who can't buy time are the record labels? huh?
Old 27th July 2005
  #25
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

songs on radio are just a 3 minute advertisement for a product as well.
Old 27th July 2005
  #26
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junior's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crypticglobe
The big labels have had a STRANGLEHOLD on what got played on the radio for a long time. The downloading of music, etc.. to me is almost like Karmic revenge on them! It's all about to change soon... and who knows... the new model might even allow the musicians to make a little $$$..... naaaaa.... just kidding. That wouldn't be right.
i agree 100%... let's keep our fingers crossed for some devine retribution

Old 27th July 2005
  #27
Gear Addict
 
johnjm22's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
Audioslave (with a great drummer, bass player and okay guitar player)
Old 28th July 2005
  #28
pay for play: "please be advised that in this week's jennifer lopez top 40 spin increase of 236 we bought 63 spins at a cost of $3,600."

Please be advised that in this week's Good Charlotte Top 40 Spin Increase of 61 we bought approximately 250 spins at a cost of $17k..."

hiring people to call in to stations as fans: "...we are confirmed for a fee of $250 for the week" 14 stations are listed. "please be sure all callers are male, preferably under 25 (or sounding like it!), and that the bulk of the calls are made between 6p.m. and midnight."

Old 28th July 2005
  #29
All Sony payola threads here (in one new thread)

I have merged all these threads into one..

Old 28th July 2005
  #30
Don't expect any changes as the system is set up for this. The fact it's been going on since the 50's says it all. Companies consider fines the cost of doing business. It's no different than the Federal approch to immigration laws. Yes there are laws, but they are not being enforced. When a company like Tyson chicken or Wall Mart get caught by the Feds, they just pay the fine. "Cost of doing business" as the reps say.

Don't EVER expect any changes until some CEO's are put behind bars.

Like that will ever happen.

Jim Williams
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