Sony BMG to Pay $10 Million to Settle Payola Probe

Apparently Sony BMG was quite eager to ensure that some of its artists got lots of play time.

July 25 (Bloomberg) — Sony BMG Music Entertainment agreed to pay $10 million and will end “pay-to-play” practices to resolve a state investigation of payola in the music industry, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced today.

Sony BMG, the world’s second-largest music company, acknowledged it had engaged in “improper conduct,” a statement issued today by Spitzer’s office said. Sony BMG, created in 2004 from the merger of the recorded-music units of Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann AG, also agreed to disclose all items of value it gives to radio stations, the statement said.

“Our investigation shows that, contrary to listener expectations that songs are selected for airplay based on artistic merit and popularity, air time is often determined by undisclosed payoffs to radio stations and their employees,” Spitzer said in the statement. “This agreement is a model for breaking the pervasive influence of bribes in the industry.”

Some of the artists whose music was affected: Bruce Springsteen, Britney Spears, and Jennifer Lopez. This really explains quite a bit for me with regards to the last to performers. I’d rather have my ear drums punctered with an ice pick than listen to that crud.

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Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. applebutter says:

    Springsteen, as well….he’s a LIBERAL who should be shunned.

  2. DC Loser says:

    I’m certain The Boss won’t miss you.

  3. Ron says:

    See Steve, if you’d said “last two performers” instead of “last to performers” you’d be skating free.

    Well you’d be skating free until the hoards of Britney Spears fans showed up, anyway.

  4. Steve Verdon says:

    two, to, too, tu…whats the difference?