Payola exposed
May 29, 2001 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Payola exposed - for those not "in the know" - if you're wondering why radio sucks so much, this LA Times article is the answer. The concept of Payola is nothing new - it's a long-talked about means of record companies getting radio stations to shove their chosen music down our throats twenty times in the course of a day. It was reported recently, however, that some incriminating documents were uncovered, finally confirming that ALL of the major record company conglomerates are involved in this scam!
posted by twiggy (9 comments total)
if you're wondering why radio sucks so much, this LA Times article is the answer.

Well, that and the fact that almost all the radio stations in the U.S. are owned by a handful of big corporations, so programming is centrally planned and generic, with maximum advertising content.
posted by RylandDotNet at 6:43 PM on May 29, 2001

(on media in general: come see who owns your brain.)
posted by rebeccablood at 6:51 PM on May 29, 2001

Similar discussion on this topic has happened before here at MeFi. Most of what I can think to say was already covered more expertly by others in response to MeFi's Clear Channel threads.

Perhaps this is happening partially due to some confusion over where the money actually should go whenever a song is played on the radio. Should it go to the RIAA? Should it go directly to the band that performed the song or the people who originally wrote the song? Should money change hands at all?

I thought that was what BMI and ASCAP were for? That a radio station is supposed to pay some blanket amount to these organizations, and then have carte blanche access to all the artists signed on with them? So any payment above and beyond this is in return for special treatment that is unfair to other artists not being treated special - hence the reason for payola being mildly illegal.

Or am I misunderstanding how it works? Maybe the whole industry is misunderstanding how it works. Unfortunately, there's so many middlemen between the radio station and the recording artist that in the end its the audience that gets slighted. Why do I say that? Try calling your local big radio stations and request an artist not presently in the top forty. A radio station should cater to the people actually listening to them, but that's not how it works, is it?
posted by ZachsMind at 10:22 PM on May 29, 2001

One hand washes the other.
posted by lagado at 10:45 PM on May 29, 2001

Zachs: as I understand it, the RIAA owns and/or controls BMI and ASCAP...

You are correct about your request remark.. I was training to be a DJ at a popular "alternative rock" station here, and we were told flat out that requests are BS... basically what happens is when someone calls and requests a song, you say "I'll try and get that on for you", and if it's a song already on the playlist (which is written out TO THE SECOND, by the way, every single song planned out in advance, in what order and at what time) - you play the recorded call, make it look like a request, and bam, you're some sorta hero.

If it's a song that's not there -- well, you just do nothing...
posted by twiggy at 11:53 PM on May 29, 2001

Radio will always be bad because it plays what the average listener wants to hear. Result: only average people will enjoy it.

Turn off the radio. Pick up an instrument. Play. Sing. Write.
posted by pracowity at 3:18 AM on May 30, 2001

> Turn off the radio. Pick up an instrument. Play. Sing.
> Write.

Amen. Fuller rises and salutes...
posted by jfuller at 5:50 AM on May 30, 2001

What drives me nuts is how a radio station will only play the currently issued single on a new album, while there are still many other good songs on the same album that we don't hear until the other singles are released when the record company wants.

No wonder people download song-by-song from Napster. If the radio stations would play more songs from solid albums, then people would know that it's worth it to buy the whole album rather than napster-ing just the song released at that time.

My 2 cents.
posted by msacheson at 8:35 AM on May 30, 2001

or you could listen to a voice network if you don't like radio music (understandably) Radio4 is rather good, and you can get it off the 'net if you don't ahppen to live on this sunny isle (UK).

I agree with the Napster-ish POV though it is very frustrating when you can't hear to non single songs.
posted by nedrichards at 10:12 AM on June 1, 2001

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