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Sony Agrees to Stop Payola 450

Posted by timothy
from the restoring-radio-virginity dept.
dsginter writes "Sony BMG Music just reached agreement with New York Attorney General. Sony spokesman John McKay admitted that the practice was 'wrong and improper' but the company engaged in the activity anyway. They were fined $10 million and have agreed to obstain from the practice in the future. Is this the first step toward getting our airwaves back or is this just a slap on the wrist?"
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Sony Agrees to Stop Payola

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  • FYI... (Score:4, Informative)

    by gellenburg (61212) <george@ellenburg.org> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:27AM (#13163621) Homepage Journal
    It's "abstain".
  • by evviva (867151) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:32AM (#13163637)
    penalty for 'payola' still include up to 1 year of incarceration according to US laws. there's your threat, then. would have been useful to actually define 'payola' for everyone like me that had to go and look it up on google (surprise! we're not all from english speaking countries).
  • by sien (35268) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:38AM (#13163662) Homepage
    US TV, films etc are pretty good, but other than NPR American free to air Radio is beyond hope. Having one channel own almost all the stations is effective death.

    Payola, while unpleasant, is nothing to people who are carefully creating radio to only be sports, 80s hits and right wing shock jocks.

    But, fortunately, there is satelite with some variety but above all else the internet.

    Australian radio, in contrast to US radio, is vibrant, brilliant and is a good industrial subsidy for the Australian music industry (ever wonder where INXS, Midnight Oil and many others got their start?).

    If you want to check it out over the net check out JJJ [abc.net.au], RRR [rrr.org.au], 3PBS [pbsfm.org.au] and enjoy some streaming quality alternative interesting radio for a change.

  • by shark72 (702619) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @06:51AM (#13163698)

    "So if a regular Joe spreads the word about a new song and induces many thousands of random people listen to it for free it's theft, but if a radio DJ does the exact same thing he gets paid? Riiight."

    The goal of record companies is, sadly, to make money. If I've already procured an MP3 of a song from Joe, I don't need to buy it -- I already have it. The record company (and the artist) make nothing. What, I'm going to voluntarily buy a copy of the album I've pirated, or go see the band in concert? Not bloody likely.

    However, there have been countless times that I've heard a song on XM and subsequently hunted it down on iTunes. When I did this, both the record company and the artist made money -- in fact, the artist made a little bit when the song was played on the radio.

    If publicity and exposure were the Alpha and the Omega and record companies and artists did not need to worry about making sales, then your logic would make perfect sense. There are plenty of unsigned bands who do freely use P2P services to distribute sample tracks. But if the intrinsic value of radio airplay is still boggling you, put yourself in the shoes of these bands and think about whether you'd also like some radio exposure in addition to all the kids P2Ping your stuff. Whether we like it or not, radio airplay is a big deal to up and coming artists.

  • by bbrack (842686) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @07:18AM (#13163781)
    The problem is that is illegal, per the federal "payola laws"

    http://www.history-of-rock.com/payola.htm [history-of-rock.com]

    The laws are there to give independent labels, that aren't flush with cash, a chance vs. the large labels
  • Wow! (Score:5, Informative)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @07:49AM (#13163885)
    Some of the memo's are pretty revealing. FSN has a story on some of it. "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?" Looks like Rush was right: "glittering prizes and endless compromises shatter the illusion of integrity, yeah!"
  • by Emil Brink (69213) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @07:54AM (#13163895) Homepage
    I know I'm being silly, but it was actually explained like this in ... the article:

    A 1960 federal law and related state laws bar record companies from offering undisclosed financial incentives in exchange for airplay. The practice was called "payola," a contraction of "pay" and "Victrola," the old wind-up record player.

    Not being from an English-speaking country myself either, I thought I'd eye the article hoping they would be internally consistent and define the term. They were, and they did. I bet this could be used to try and teach some kind of lesson, but let's not go there. :)
  • by donscarletti (569232) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @07:55AM (#13163897)
    Yes, Australian radio is absolutely brilliant. We have the always balanced and insightful John Laws and Alan Jones to bring enlightenment to us, we have the infinitely tallented Kyle and Jackie-O bringing us culture over the Austereo network who's stations in every capital city always play an ecclectic and always fresh selection of artistic music written by Australia and the World's most tallented musicians.

    Granted, I've never been to North America but I find it a little tricky to swallow that anyone could have music that makes our crappy radio sound "vibrant and brilliant". Sure, JJJ has integrity (as do all the ABC stations) but that's because it's federally funded explicitly to stop kids from becoming as much of idiots as they would have been if they turned on Nova instead. Australian radio sucks, and sucks hard.

  • by Freexe (717562) <serrkr@tznvy.pbz> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:05AM (#13163939) Homepage
    its a Bribery made to a dj in exchange for promotion of an album or single. Derived from the words 'pay' (give money to) and 'victrola' (a record player).
  • by BackInIraq (862952) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:35AM (#13164079)
    What, I'm going to voluntarily buy a copy of the album I've pirated, or go see the band in concert? Not bloody likely.

    Piracy hurts album sales, no doubt about it...though the effect is not as direct as the record companies would have you think. In the golden days of Napster, many people were buying CD's they had "sampled" online. Some, like myself and several of my friends, actually bought more music, because we had the opportunity to, from the comfort of our homes, listen to a huge variety of music that we might otherwise not have heard.

    I am not, however, trying to argue that P2P doesn't hurt album sales as you said...it does.

    But concert attendance? Not a chance. Most people who go see a concert already own the band's CD's. Downloading an album in MP3 is no subsitute for a live show...even downloading a FLAC of an entire concert set is not a substitute for being there. You'd have a hard time convincing most people that illegal downloading hurts ticket sales...and you'd have a relatively easy time showing that it might help ticket sales. People go see the bands because they heard, and liked, the albums...it doesn't matter if they heard it in legal or illegal form.

    From what I understand, the order goes like this: radio airplay is just an advertisement for the album (to the record company), and the album is just an advertisement for the concert (to the band).
  • NY AG (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dolphineus53 (765914) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:36AM (#13164083)
    Payola is nothing new. Anyone who is surprised that this is going on was just unaware that the practice has been around as long as radio.

    My big question is this ... when is New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer running for a bigger office? He seems to have a knack for getting headlines with high profile cases that get everyone all fired up.

    From http://www.nynewsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/w ire/sns-ap-clinton-2006,0,1068438.story?coll=sns-a p-nation-headlines [nynewsday.com]
    the poll showed state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer continuing to hold a double-digit lead over the three-term governor in a possible matchup for the 2006 gubernatorial campaign.
  • by Seraphim_72 (622457) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @09:37AM (#13164444)

    The answer you are looking for is - 89.3 The current [publicradio.org] by Minnesota Public radio. CD quality [publicradio.org] aacPlus no less. Yummy.

    Sera

  • by Gonarat (177568) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @09:44AM (#13164490)
    Payola is a term that dates back to the late 1950's when Rock and Roll was just getting started. Back then, AM radio was king, radio stations were independently owned (no Clear Channel), and DJs had a lot of control over what they played, especially at night.

    To keep it simple, what happened is that music labels began offering DJs money to play their songs. Music producers began targeting the AM stations ran high power at night since these "clear channel" (nothing to do with the company) stations could be heard for hundreds, if not thousands of miles at night.

    In the end, the Feds had to step in and put a stop to this practice. Payola, as it was called, was ended around 1960, but the labels found ways around the law through the use of "Indys" and such. The practice has gotten worse since the FCC allowed companies to own many radio stations. Do some googling if you want to learn more -- it is fascinating.
  • by jurv!s (688306) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @03:19PM (#13168645) Journal
    I definitely recommend that everyone see fight club and no, it was definitely not supposed to be funny. The main character becomes disillusioned with the bullshit of modern life and seeks to return society to a more primitive, visceral form of living. An interesting movie to say the least.

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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