For those of you that think of the 1950s as the golden age of Rock ‘n’ Roll, be ready to rejoice: Payola is back! For all the dirty machinations schemed up by music industry executives, payola was one that is actually criminal (rather than just reprehensible), and the one that got all the ink from news media types. And, like I said, it’s back. Latin media giant Univision has agreed to pay the U.S. government $1 million in fines in a plea deal to resolve its rather serious foray into the old pay for play game.
Payola works like this: music industry executives pay radio stations to give their artists’ songs more play time. The listening public a) gets used to the songs and eventually starts liking them, and/or b) starts assuming that said artists are really popular and force themselves to like them in order to be hip with the times. Either way, sales are increased through deceptive practices. And Univision digs it! It’s not as prevalent as the piracy constantly goes on for profit or not. It’s not as sleazy as the execs who screwed unwitting artists out of all their money. It’s not as violent as those who strong-armed artists and competing labels. But as far as music industry scandals go, at least it has the coolest sounding moniker. Yay, Payola!