Payola Scandal Essay

655 Words3 Pages
Payola, the practice of bribing someone to use their influence or position to promote a particular product or interest, became a household name in the 1950s. Payola has been around since the inception of the radio, disc jockeys and radio stations were offered money or gifts to play a particular song. Alan Freed, a popular disc jockey at the time, actually credited for coining the term “rock and roll,” had his career and reputation greatly harmed by a payola scandal. Before Alan Freed's indictment, payola was not illegal, however, commercial bribery was. After the trial, the anti-payola statute was passed under which payola became a misdemeanor, penalty by up to $10,000 in fines and one year in prison. Getting radio play would allow the songs to reach its expected audience and help launch the artist’s career. This practice also helped small and independent labels break the stronghold of the music industry by major labels. To better understand what was behind the Payola scandal in the 1950’s, let me discuss a little history about the radio industry. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) thrived on the sales of sheet music and recordings of Tin Pan Alley songs, the collection of New York City music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the U.S. at the time, but the creation of radio in the 1940’s was geared toward recorded music and things started to change in the industry. After a fierce battle between radio stations and ASCAP over royalty payments, stations decided to refuse to play any recordings registered with ASCAP. So, in 1940 radio stations created and began operating their own publishing company called Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI). ASCAP didn’t want to share any royalties with radio stations and they tended to ignore and refuse to play any music composed by “blacks and

More about Payola Scandal Essay

Open Document