Since the beginning of time, or at least the ’60s, record labels and industry execs have been paying major bank to “force” what they want played on the radio. This is actually a real thing. It’s called ‘Payola’.
“Payola, in the music industry, is the illegal practice of payment or other inducement by record companies for the broadcast of recordings on commercial radio in which the song is presented as being part of the normal day’s broadcast. Under U.S. law, 47 U.S.C. § 317, a radio station can play a specific song in exchange for money, but this must be disclosed on the air as being sponsored airtime, and that play of the song should not be counted as a “regular airplay”.
The noun was added to the English language via the record business back in the day and seems more apparent than ever in this day and music age. The first court case involving payola was on on May 9, 1960. Well-known ’60s disc jockey Alan Freed, was indicted for accepting $2,500, which he claimed was a token of gratitude and did not affect airplay.
It starts with the radio. If a radio station is playing a particular artist everyday, every hour, there is a strong chance that sooner than later that artist will be topping the charts. This isn’t always a guarantee though. One theory is that Payola is now being used to re-spark older artists careers. A singer who was at the top of his or her game during the ’90s, is now struggling to top charts unless record labels allegedly pay ridiculous amounts of money to radio and streaming services.
Aside from old-timers trying to make a comeback, there is still your generic and talentless boy band. Your basic indie group thirsting for your attention by any means possible. That would include the practice of paying a radio station lump sums to play your “hit single” more than 10 times a day.
Fm Radio is essentially a thing of the past. Music streaming services are eliminating the importance of album sales. The industry of music and entertainment seems to finally be adapting to the millennial generation and the Internet. The Internet is what made music exciting again.
If you don’t believe in Payola then your not accepting the reality of radio and streaming services. Payola is the root of all evil, so if you’re an aspiring artist or band figure out a way to avoid “super labels” and “illuminati” and just be confident with your music. Every artist has an untapped cult fanbase.