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Finally! They are going after the source of the problem...
Old 11th May 2006
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Finally! They are going after the source of the problem...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,195180,00.html
Old 11th May 2006
  #2
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djui5's Avatar
 

"Now we have some proof of what’s going on there, thanks to memos supplied as evidence by Spitzer’s office. Many of the acts are those you’ve never heard of. But others are illustrative of how Universal (which includes Island/Def Jam, Motown, Interscope and other labels) tried to force bad music down our throats."




Old 11th May 2006
  #3
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max cooper's Avatar
 

But this is admitting that people can't think for themselves.

In other words, if it's on the radio, I have to buy it. I can't help myself.

Of course, since it's Fox News, they can't call it Universal Media.. they have to call it "Lindsay Lohan's Record Company".

Jeez. Spare me.
Old 11th May 2006
  #4
Gear Nut
 
DivideByZero's Avatar
I like how Universal Music consists of:
Island Def Jam Music Group
Interscope A&M Records
Geffen Records
Lost Highway Records
MCA Nashville
Mercury Nashville
DreamWorks Nashville Mercury Records
Polydor
Universal Motown Records Group
Decca
Deutsche Grammophon
Philips
Verve Music Group

...but the headline assumes "Lindsey Lohan's record label" would make it more identifiable.


edit: ^^^what max said^^^
Old 11th May 2006
  #5
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Dave Peck's Avatar
 

Not too surprising. And just as an aside, sheeesh the quality of 'reporting' in that piece is awful. It reads like a high school newspaper gossip column. The state of journalism and news reporting in this country has been poor for a long time, but it has really gone into the toilet just in the past few years.

DP
Old 11th May 2006
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
But this is admitting that people can't think for themselves.

In other words, if it's on the radio, I have to buy it. I can't help myself.

Of course, since it's Fox News, they can't call it Universal Media.. they have to call it "Lindsay Lohan's Record Company".

Jeez. Spare me.

They made it very clear that "Lindsay Lohan's company" is just part of universal. Keep in mind, no one bought her record anyway despite the payola and airplay.
Old 11th May 2006
  #7
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picksail's Avatar
 

Fox News says it all.

I wonder how long it took to receive clearance for that story.
Old 11th May 2006
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Peck
Not too surprising. And just as an aside, sheeesh the quality of 'reporting' in that piece is awful. It reads like a high school newspaper gossip column. The state of journalism and news reporting in this country has been poor for a long time, but it has really gone into the toilet just in the past few years.

DP

It WAS a gossip column, raft with opinion. If you notice, it's in the entertainment section of their website.

But yes, in general, print and broadcast journalists can't write too well (:
Old 11th May 2006
  #9
Lives for gear
 

The good thing is, when has there EVER been an attorney general that cares this much about the graft and corruption in the music industry? Everyone else has just looked the other way.

All musicians should be writing Eliot Spitzer in support. Except the ones who benefit from payola of course.
Old 11th May 2006
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picksail
Fox News says it all.

I wonder how long it took to receive clearance for that story.
I forgot that most people in here might hate Fox News. Next time I have any "good news" about the industry, I'll use CNN to make everyone happy!
Old 12th May 2006
  #11
Press Releases

Department of Law
120 Broadway
New York, NY 10271
Department of Law
The State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

May 11, 2006

UNIVERSAL MUSIC SETTLES PAYOLA PROBE
$12 Million Agreement Reforms Business Practices and Funds Music Education Programs


State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer today announced a settlement with UMG Recording Inc., ("Universal") the world’s largest record label company, to end its pervasive "pay-for-play" practices. Under terms of the settlement, Universal, a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal which owns Island Def Jam, Interscope, Universal Motown Recordings Group, Uni-South, Universal Nashville and Verve, has agreed to stop making payments and providing expensive gifts to radio stations and their employees in return for "airplay" of particular artists’ songs.

Radio airplay is the single most effective driver of music sales. The more airplay a song receives, the higher it climbs on published charts that purport to reflect the song’s popularity, and the more likely consumers are to buy it. Payola undermines the integrity of the music recording and broadcasting industries.

"Consumers have a right not to be misled about the way in which the music they hear on the radio is selected," Spitzer said. "Pay-for-play makes a mockery of claims that only the ‘best’ or ‘most popular’ music is broadcast."

Spitzer’s investigation determined that Universal and its record labels offered a series of inducements to radio stations and their employees to obtain airplay, or "spins" of recordings by the company’s artists, including songs by Nick Lachey, Ashlee Simpson, Brian McKnight, Big Tymers, and Lindsay Lohan.

During the investigation, a promotion executive at Interscope acknowledged that he was trained to "never say no to radio" and to "keep the lines of communication open, to have access." The executive said that providing promotional support to the radio stations increased the airplay of Interscope’s artists.
Universal’s pay-for-play strategy included:
• Outright bribes to radio station programmers, including electronics, vacations, airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to sporting events and concerts;
• Payments to radio stations to cover operational expenses and contest giveaways;
• Retention of middlemen, known as independent promoters (or "indies"), as conduits for illegal payments to radio stations;
• Payments for "spin programs" and "time buys," airplay under the guise of advertising.
The Attorney General’s office obtained emails showing that Universal executives were not only aware of the payoffs but regularly trained and pressured subordinates to buy airplay.

Top management stressed the importance of requiring radio stations to deliver the bargained-for airplay, as evidenced by the following July 2003 email from a senior Motown Records Group executive to a promotion employee regarding airplay of a song by the artists Dream:

This is embarrassing and a total lack of accountability. We have gotten ripped off beyond belief... That’s almost $300,000 dollars and they are looking for some heads,,,bad bad bad. I don’t want one invoice processed for indys, stations etc until their end of the deal is held up. If I find out that the deals were cut with lack of airplay and overnight spins starting with the nationals, as they say heads are gonna roll, including mine.

Radio stations, aware of Universal’s willingness to engage in pay-for-play practices, were not shy about asking for promotional support. These requests were often part of an explicit or implicit agreement to provide airplay for Universal songs.

For example, the program director at WBEE (Rochester, NY) asked Uni-South to pay for a $2,500 laptop computer for the station in exchange for the station adding two songs, one by Joe Nichols and the other by McHayes. At Uni-South’s request, the station provided a false letter stating that the computer had been sent as part of a promotion, even though the station simply retained the computer for its own use.

Universal supplemented the work of its promotion employees through independent promoters – third-parties who are paid specifically to deal directly with the radio stations to obtain specified levels of airplay. Although hired by the record labels, some independent promoters employed by Universal – including Jeff McClusky, Bishop, Bait & Tackle and Michele Clark – had exclusive arrangements with particular radio stations.

Universal also made "time buys," radio advertisements for particular artists or recordings which each broadcast only a segment of a particular song. Until the fall of 2004, BDS – a monitoring service that tracks the amount or airplay individual songs receive – registered time buys as if the entire song had been played in every instance, thereby boosting each song’s apparent popularity and chart position.

The importance of time buys as a means to achieve chart position was spelled out explicitly in Universal documents. In an October 2002 email, a Motown Records Group senior promotion executive wrote to her staff:

This is standard business practice that we should know off the top of our heads, especially as nationals. I need the entire staff to submit any and all stations that participate on the alternative AND rock side on the below mentioned time buys and extra spin promotions in order to achieve our chart positions...Make it a part of each call you make with radio starting today.

The settlement with Spitzer’s office obligates Universal to undertake corporate-wide reforms, including: immediate cessation of payments and other inducements to radio stations for airplay; discontinuance of independent promoters as a pass-through for securing airplay; hiring of a compliance officer to monitor promotion practices; and implementation of an internal system to detect future abuses.


Universal will also make a $12 million payment, which will be distributed through the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, to New York State not-for-profit entities to fund music education and appreciation programs.

Spitzer’s probe of payola in the music industry previously resulted in two settlements with leading music labels: Sony BMG and Warner, and a lawsuit against Entercom Communications Corp. The investigation is continuing.

The investigation and settlement were handled by Assistant Attorneys General David Weinstein and Shahla Ali, with assistance from Investigator Karon Richardson, under the direction of Terryl Brown Clemons, Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the Division of Public Advocacy.
Old 12th May 2006
  #12
Lives for gear
in germany, particular indie labels are being bashed in publicity for buying their own CDs, but when they tell that they know a couple of majors doing similar things just with more power and discrecy, they are silenced heavily with enormous lawsuit threats.
I think, europe needs another mr. spitzer..
at least, we have these "stars" here BIG, that are mentioned in the US payola news! big in the media, but biz weeps about sales heh
Old 12th May 2006
  #13
Since sales are (or were) counted based on shipping, they're used to be two barges in NYC that labels would ship 2 million copies to to get 2x platinum status right away.

Sounds scan prevents that now.
Old 13th May 2006
  #14
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ArcCirDude's Avatar
 

But isn't 12 million pocket change when it comes to the amount of money they have earned in record sales? (I didn't see the article. Some Tom Cruise crap came up...) Isn't it cheaper than the normal routes of marketing? It's like when The Star/National Enquirer slanders a celeberty. They have to pay a million in damages but they've sold 15 million copies. Win/win dynamics. I've got the bassline to the O'Jay's "For the Love of Money" looping in my head, now.
Old 13th May 2006
  #15
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
But this is admitting that people can't think for themselves.

In other words, if it's on the radio, I have to buy it. I can't help myself.

for me, this isn't a story about why people buy the music they buy, it's about how the channels of media are controlled and force-fed by a very narrow group of interests with a lot of influence.

even hollywood, which turns out at least as much druck as the major label music industry, produces more than it's share of really exceptional films that manage to be both artistically satisfying and emotionally/viscerally entertaining. this is even more true of the book publishing biz. what's the deal with music?

don't get me wrong, there's a lot of great music out there these days, but it's not generally coming my way via the majors, and it certainly isn't coming by way of radio.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 14th May 2006
  #16
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pixelhead's Avatar
Not really new news. read the book "Hitmen"

From Amazon:
English rock group Pink Floyd was one of the hottest bands in 1980, with an LP shooting up the charts and a concert tour that sold out within hours. But the group was unable to get airplay for its latest single, at least not without engaging the services of a nascent breed of freelance promoters whose practices ushered in a new era of payola. These promotors, dubbed "indies," used illegal methods and had suspected mob connections. That the recording industry not only tolerated but embraced the indies is indicative of the questionable tactics now employed in this high-stakes arena, charges Dannen in a sharply critical study. At its center is industry leader CBS records, whose president Walter Yetnikoff is depicted as a bully of Machiavellian proportions whose style set the tone throughout the business in the '80s. Dannen, a reporter for Institutional Investor , mixes the skills of an investigative journalist with the gifts of an expert storyteller in an expose that will intrigue and appall readers with its disclosures. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Vanity Fair; author tour.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067...Fencoding=UTF8
Old 14th May 2006
  #17
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........"Universal will also make a $12 million payment, which will be distributed through the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, to New York State not-for-profit entities to fund music education and appreciation programs.....
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ah...Universal gets to write off the fine as a "donation" on taxes next year. How convenient and useful.

Overall, these deals are no different than the payola associated with the Fabians of the 50's, the tv-kids-become-singing-stars of the 60's, the payola scandals of the 70's...80's...90's...etc. It's like the mafia. They get busted..wait for the heat to die down..then business as usual.

The most scary, horrendous part of this story is whoever did the copy for the Fox News report. The writing skills on that piece are absolutely atrocious. I had to stop every few words...back up to read it again...figure out where the hell one sentence stopped and another started....not to mention what any of it meant. What's the deal at Fox? Do they only hire writers fresh out of 7th grade?
Old 14th May 2006
  #18
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mersisblue's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
But this is admitting that people can't think for themselves.

In other words, if it's on the radio, I have to buy it. I can't help myself.

Of course, since it's Fox News, they can't call it Universal Media.. they have to call it "Lindsay Lohan's Record Company".

Jeez. Spare me.

this proves people can not choose what they nare not exposed to
Old 14th May 2006
  #19
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Ruphus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
But this is admitting that people can't think for themselves.

In other words, if it's on the radio, I have to buy it. I can't help myself.
I remember a discussion about plastic music years back on GS where I pointed to exactly this background, and most wouldn´t accept the possibility at all ( at that time at least ). They seriously thought initial demand would be making the market, which is obviously though just half of the truth long since, as the topic of this thread now only confirms.

Taste and opinion are medially shaped and sculptured like frozen butter artistry for cold buffets.
All you need for a trend is media control, the rest is apple mousse.

Without concertated media control infantile melodies and repetitive sounds would had never made it to fashion. Just as clumsy pseudo arts would be dusting at very small numbers in attics at best, and as neocons would had remained a hush-hush spinner club.

Ruphus
Old 14th May 2006
  #20
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Speaking of music stuffed down people's throats by the biz over history, even the Monkees (or at least Nesmith) was occasionally able to get the real message out.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNJy-...search=MONKEES
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