That Explains It: Radio Stations Took Payola To Play Jessica Simpson
from the let's-annoy-the-customers dept
New York's Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, filed suit today against radio operator Entercom on a good old fashioned charge of payola. The company allegedly took payments to play songs by Liz Phair, Jessica Simpson and Avril Lavigne, in the last case playing one of her songs 109 times in one week. The practice of payola isn't much different than a website or product buying links from a popular website to fuel traffic and higher search engine rankings. In both cases it's unseemly, but ultimately the seller pays for this by auctioning of its credibility, or whatever it is that made it popular. The decline of commercial radio stations, flogging bland top-40 "hits", suggests that such consequences don't just work in theory. Spitzer, in his statement, noted that payola harmed listeners because song selections aren't based on artistic merit. This is true, but prosecuting consumer-unfriendly practices only encourages creative ways to get around the law. With many competing entertainment options available, letting businesses harm their own product, seems like punishment enough. Of course, playing an Avril Lavigne song 15 times a day might still be worthy of an investigation.