Payola – You Play, You Pay

How to get your song played on the radio? One word: Payola. “Although some forms of payola were outlawed after the mid-century scandals, various loopholes allowed other incarnations to thrive, under the guise of independent promotion. With money from the record companies, promoters used oblique tactics—subsidies, gifts, “research funds”—to encourage radio stations to add new singles to their playlists. By 2000, tens of millions of dollars a year were being spent on what you might call legal payola, and although bad publicity has severely curtailed the promotion business, paying to play is still integral to the way radio works. Despite its sleazy reputation, payola has a certain rationale.”