After being told by the RIAA there’s nothing to see here, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly is determined to find out if Payola is taking place between the music industry and radio. He’s now taking aim at three record labels.
O’Rielly started down the Payola path with a letter to the RIAA, hoping they would help him get to the bottom of whether Payola was still taking place. He was underwhelmed by their response.
On Tuesday, The Commission made public a letter O’Rielly sent to Sony Music, UMG and Warner Music. He wants answers about how they are preventing Payola and he wants them by the end of February. He wants to know if they understand the rules against Payola and if any additional steps need to be taken to prevent the practice from happening.
This is a story we covered all throughout 2019. It was thrust into the public eye after Rolling Stone published a lengthy piece that strongly hinted the practice was still taking place all over the country. The article quotes one music industry executive saying he paid $50,000 for about 800 plays.
O’Rielly says that even a cursory review of consumer complaints is cause for concern regarding the persistence of payola. “And, in recent months, some artists have responded forcefully against accusations of payola. which speaks to the seriousness of the issue. Yet, there is no shortage of accusations that financial enticement is in some cases driving chart rankings, album and song sales, and commercial success.”
Do you believe Payola is still taking place?