Is payola still alive and well?
Payola is nothing new, especially in the hip hop world, however the FCC is attempting to crack down on the illegal practice. The practice has been against the law since 1960, but some are still not clear on the law itself. It is not illegal to pay for your music to be heard on the radio. It is only illegal when the audience is not made aware that you offered financial support to get it on air.
Nevertheless, FCC commissioner Mike O’Rielly sent a letter to the Recording Industry of America requesting them to look into how well the laws against payola are being enforced. “Your association is uniquely situated to survey the practices of your industry and respond to press reports regarding alleged practices,” said O’Rielly in his letter. Rappers and musicians have accused each other of paying for radio play in the past. Just last year, Nicki Minaj claimed that Cardi B had “Built her career off sympathy and payola”, shortly after their very public fight at a NYFW event.
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No individual musicians have been accused so far but for all the musicians reading, make sure the listeners know whether or not you paid for air time. It’s much better than getting caught by Nicki later on.