Assault On Payola (Haven’t We Done This Before?)

It was back in the early 1960s that the first court cases concerning payola, the odious practice of a record company paying radio DJs to play an artist’s songs regardless of quality, hit the press, and the practice was effectively stamped out inside of a decade. But in the past few years, creative new forms of payola have been stampeding through the increasingly corporate American radio industry, virtually unchecked. Now, the state attorney general of New York is pursuing the industry anew, and this week, recording giant Sony BMG agreed to pay a $10 million fine and to halt its practice of paying DJs for airplay.