Sony BMG In Airplay Bribe Scandal

BEYONCE KNOWLES, BRITNEY SPEARS and JENNIFER LOPEZ’s music company Sony BMG has agreed to pay $10 million (GBP5.7 million) to settle probe into the illegal practice of paying radio stations to air its stars’ songs.

The settlement was announced today (25JUL05) following a “pay for play” investigation spearheaded by New York Attorney General ELIOT SPITZER which discovered the illegal practice was rife.

The probe uncovered massive corruption and even reported cases of Sony BMG buying holidays for radio employees. Emails between top officials showed that bribes were accepted and commonplace. A 1960 US law makes it illegal for record companies to offer radio stations financial incentives.

Mr Spitzer says, “Air time is often determined by undisclosed payoffs. This agreement is a model for breaking the pervasive influence of bribes in the industry.

“Instead of airing music based on the quality, artistic competition, aesthetic judgments or other judgments, radio stations are airing music because they are paid to do so in a way that hasn’t been disclosed to the public.”

Sony spokesman JOHN McKAY condemned the practice as “wrong and improper”.

The money will go to a New York state not-for-profit entities involved in music education and appreciation.

Sony BMG owns over 20 record labels, including J Records, Jive, Arista, Epic and RCA Records.

10 Responses to “Sony BMG In Airplay Bribe Scandal”

  1. samantha says:

    the payola issue is giving me the nerves…does this mean that jlo #1 is not valid?? this is sad

  2. lux says:

    I doubt it had much effect on her numbers. It’s all of Sony’s recording artists, not just Jennifer.

  3. ali says:

    dis news sucks cos it means jen n other artists on der label arent credible enough 2 get airplay 4 da quality of der songs but djs were bribed 2 spin der records. dis is so sad n every1 is gona h8 on j-lo n dey’ll say she’s nt a reel artists etc…

  4. raiderpride says:

    It doesn’t necessarily mean that she didn’t get #1 on her own or that her stuff isn’t quality enough- it just means that the company paid to get THEIR music on the air- I think not just Jenny’s. This sucks big time, but who’s to say that she couldn’t have gotten #1 on her own, or that she DIDN’T get #1 on her own?

  5. Tommy says:


  6. marcus says:

    yea…this sucks. and this includes other artists like Destiny’s Child, Alicia Keys, Usher, and Bow Wow! and would this have anything to do with Hold You Down and other Jen songs being a flop?

  7. samantha says:

    flop is harsh word….i’m deeply saddened by this story

  8. ap says:

    i dont see what the big deal is.. am sure others have done it in the past …doesnt get to me lol ..jlo still rocks

  9. jarekch says:

    Wow, wow, wow, easy guys, she got that #1 for sure, it depends on people who listen to the songs and call for it. Nah, nothing that big, I’ve seen worst things happened in entertainment industry and they who did it got away with it.
    The truth is that Jennifer does sing, dance, acting in her movies, creating her fashion designs and the rest of the job are doing people who are working for her, she said that herself many times in some interviews. Of course if somebody who is working for Jennifer screws up it goes on her, she is the one who is blamed always. Ok now enough of explanations, Jennifer Lopez, Not Guilty, BANG, end of the session, lol.

  10. Newton says:

    I was actually just thinking about this the other day and that paying radio stations would be a good idea to get new artist off the ground but I had no idea it was illegal! Besides, they only did this with a few radio stations it probably didn’t inflate songs’ chart positions very significantly. No need to worry, no ones going to go back and re-do the charts. And yes, Hold You Down was a flop.