Sunday, April 15, 2007

An Attempt to Combat Payola

A 2 year payola case finally settled between the FCC and Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Entercom Communications, and Citadel Broadcasting Corp...for a cool $12.5 million. FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein called the settlement, "A breakthrough and a milestone" in the war on payola".

But the result that comes from it, The FCC's longstanding regulations don't actually prohibit the pay-for-play system, they merely require its disclosure at the time of broadcast. Said Adelstein, "These rules are based on the basic principle that listeners and viewers are entitled to know who is seeking to persuade them so they can make up their own minds about the content."

Wait, what? How will that work? Will DJs introduce each song with the artist, song name, and the sponsor of the song?

The settlement includes voluntary payments by the broadcasters; agreements to establish staff positions charged with overseeing compliance with the settlement; and the establishment of a database that tracks all money and other contributions from labels.

Under a separate agreement, the broadcasters have also volunteered to collectively air 4,200 hours per year of music by local and independent musicians.

So basically, they could get through their commitment with only 90 minutes a day...anyone have the feeling that might be from 4-5am AND still have some sort of payola going on, with competition like that? Actually the segments must take place between 6am and midnight, but I can still see them picking 11:30pm so as to not give up any prime time playing time.

It will be interesting to see what happens considering $12 million combined for the top four companies is basically nothing. Taking 3 bones from a dog named Clear Channel is nothing when they have a whole kitchen full of dog food.

Payola has always been around and it always will be in some form or another. They are planning to regulate compliance but without invading privacy I just can't see that fully working.

Have people stopped downloading music just because there is a possibility of getting in trouble? No. So will payola stop just because Clear Channel got fined $3.5 million? No, probably not.

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