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Songs = Ads

The Houston Chronicle reported today on an amazing new form of payola, record labels playing new songs as ads. Most incredibly, these song plays get counted in the tallies that determine what’s a “top ten” hit. Other radio stations see that the song has charted and then they play it because it seems popular.

Let’s not forget that the old kind of pay-for-play is still in full effect– every major label pays ‘independent promoters’ when they release new music and the promoters then pay radio stations to play the songs. Somehow, payola, which used to be a scandal, has become an accepted part of how the music industry works, but it’s just as outrageous now as it was in the 50’s and 60’s when Congress first tried to make it illegal. here’s more on how it works.

Pay-for-play is the singlest biggest weapon that the major labels use to keep independent music off of the radio. And every time someone buys a CD from a major label, they’re propping up the payola machine.

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