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August 23, 1973 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-08-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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1 ,AgutU l~i r- Vy~vaiL UPN IL ic INII

Payola plagues record companies
By JAY SHARBUTT laws against record piracy - the to deal, that man wants money" playing the top 40 pop or rhythm formers usually get for pi
AP Television Writer re-recording of pop albums and A promotion man at a major and blues records as listed in the appearances. The disc
ANGELES - Disc joc- their resale at cut rates; require record company in Los Angeles popularity charts of major mu- pockets the salary differer
catering to the insatiable for the first time royalty pay- says it another way: "Life styles sic publications or independent
can thirst for music, still nents from jukebox owners, and have changed and drugs are "tip sheets." ONE PRACTICE that
to the tune of payola, provide for an estimated $20 mil- now what booze was in the Fif- Most agreed that the "majors" involve payola to broad(
music industry sources ad- lion in annual royalties from ties. It's that simple. -tp independent or network- is called "store payol
lespite the fact that taking broadcasters. "Okay if a jock is into grass sowned stations, particularly in used in areas where top
ld mean a $10,000 fine and The record industry's worries or coke, a promotion guy might New York and Los Angeles, are tions base the play lists
r in jail.~ are shared by conglomerates do a number with him. But only virtually impossible to crack on what albums are sel
s ail s that own both recording and to stay tight with him. It's not with payola, primarily because major record stores.
ip osshe to s, how hroadcasting companies; among given as a bribe, as a play this of management controls stem- Store officials get fr
because few people know. them are the CBS, NBC and ABC and I'll give you great grass ming from the earlier scandals. cords, which they can sel
hose who promote records networks, which own 15 televi- thing. Also these are the home sta- out paying the record con
sion and 38 radio stations be-t f tinvolved. In return, they
nusic groups should know' tween them, "IT'S OFFERED on a person- tions for top disc jockeys - men
tey aren't talking, at least al, social basis, pretty much the who .earn up to $100,000 plus, a aryreport that certain r
ecificatly. PROFITABLE br o a d c a s t way you'd go have a drink with year. ionscall up.
VOLA IS when you give 5'.:.. S v.a...i... "Da that in fotur or
n e y, favors, girls, even your big stores and you
to disc jockeys, to induce But when you come to a jock or a program director who is on have to get involved w
to play particular records the take, he's not going to take one or two blows of your coke . . . he stations," saysva Los
plug particular musical raddi- executive. "The
s. Money was the prime in- wants something more. Drugs is a false leader. It's there, no question stores surveyed, the m
sent in the late 1950s when about it. But when it comes down to dealing, that man wants money." worth."
2W0 disc inckevs were ac-

a." It's
40 sta-
in part
ling in
ee re-
It with-
dih sta-
five of
u don't
ith the
ore it's

cused of accepting graft, and a
congressional prohe led to the
present federal law and penal-
ties in 1960.
The record industry was small
potatoes then compared to now.
A Forbes Magazine estimate
says it took in a whopping $2
hillion last year in record and
tape sales. The take sos fueled
primarily by teen-agers and
young adults who were toddlers
when "payola" was a hig, new
It's an old tale now, but with a
new twist - "durola," or the use
of marijuana or cocaine as an
inducement to disc jockeys. But
then there's the use of drugs
within the music business itself.
"I THINK the dirty word here
is not payola," says one top re-
cord company executive. "I
think the dirty word here is
drugs, Drugs are a serious prob-
lem within the industry and I
think there's been a lax attitude
taken by the presidents of com-
The president of another ma-
jor drug company disagrees: "I
don't think there's any more
drug use in our industry than in
any other."
This year, as the industry con-
tinues to make millions and mu-
sic, it also complains loudly
about allegations that stem from
a federal grand jury probe of the
SINCE APRIL, the grand jury,
meeting Newark, N.J., has been
hearing testimony concerning
traditional kinds of payla,
drugola and the extent of moh
influence in the record industry.
No indictments have been re-
turned yet and Justice Depart-
ment sources say it may he a
year before anything happens.
But some record execttives fear
the prohe, coupled with other of-
ficial and unofficial investiga-
tions and subsequent headlines
could well:
-Bring down a federal regula-
tory hammer that would sharply
limit the free-wheeling, free-
spending ways now existing in the
-JEOPARDIZE the already-
shaky chances of a proposed
copyright revision bill now in
Congress. The measure has died
in past years after heavy pres-
sure from broadcasters opposing
certain provisions it again con-
tains this year.
The provisions would tighten
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sity of Michigan. Notices should be
409 E. Jefferson, before 2 p.m. of
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Student organization notices are
not accepted for publication. For
more information, phone 764-9276.
A Thursday, August 23
CEW: "What it's Like to be an Adult
Woman Student," informal conversa-
tion, 330 Thompson Street, 9:30-11:30

-a record company executive

licenses could be affected at re-
newal time if allegations of
wrongdoing by companies' record
divisions are proved.
How widespread are drugola
and payola and who is involved?
Impossible to say. Music indus-
try members contacted during a
three - week AP survey - a -
flatly refused to talk; - b - re-
fused to talk in specifics, or - c
- simply insisted they didn't
Those who would talk would
do so only if promised neither
their names nor those of
their companies would be used.
Ironically, the industry that
thrives on publicity, has clam-
med up while the heat is on.
MOST OF THOSE contacted
say drugola is a minor issue;
they say cash, direct or indirect,
still is king, even though payola
to broadcasting personnel is a
federal crime.
As the manager of several rock
acts and singers puts it "Quite
honestly, I don't think there is as
much drugs given to jocks disc
jockeys as all the rumors have
'I think that's the wrong
track. I think that's a sensation-
al thing that the press is get-
ting into because it sells news-
papers, because most people
feel, 'Ah-hah, the're doing
"But when you come to a
jock or a program director who
is on the take, he's not going to
take one or two blows of your
coke . . he wants something
more. Drugs is a false leader.
"IT'S THERE, no question
about it. But when it comes down

a business contact."
Drugs are part of the scene.
He and other middle-level
sources in the industry say the
same relationship exists between
rock stars who use drugs and
many of the record company
"artists relations" men that
must deal with them.
THEY SAY THE performers
who use drugs - and none put
marijuana smoking in the drug
use category - buy the stuff
themselves or get them from the
"groupies" who are part of their
regular entourage.
They say there are infrequent
occasions when performers will
ask their artist relations man to
buy them drugs.
One former artist relations
man for a major New York label
says when this happens "and if
the guy is open to it, he'll pick
up the tab.
"AND GENERALLY, the pres-
ident of the company or whoever
is okaying the expense account
- if the artist is hitting - will
go along with it.
"There's a tacit understand-
ing or agreement, of, 'okay,
that's what you did. Just don't
go crazy with it.' And there are
cases where a company presi-
dent either honestly doesn't know
what his men are doing or sim-
ply doesn't want to know."
But drugs are rarely an in-
ducement to hire or keep top pop
talent, he said. They want, mon-
ey, not drugs.
MOST AGREED that the main
targets of any company's promo-
tional push - legitimate and
otherwise - are the stations

Most payola efforts, they say,
center on stations surrounding
major metropolitan areas. The
idea is to get heavy air play on
those stations, hoping the record
sill "break out" and hit the
THEY SAY payola takes a va-
riety of forms other than outright
cash. It includes airline tickets
that can be cashed in; credit
cards given deejays or program
directors with the understand-
ing they'll be returned within a
given time and free trips to re-
gional and national conventions
with all expenses paid including
the services of prostitutes.
Some companies give free re-
cord albums - figures range
from SO to 500 and up-which the
recipients resell to record stores
at cut rates of $1 or $2 each and
pocket the proceeds.
Another dodge, sources say, is
for a disc jockey to organize a
pop music, concert A record
company supplies its stars at
prices well below what the per-

IF A RECORD shows up
strongly in a high volume store
and doesn't get mentioned in the
littte neighorhood stores, you
know the record companies are
doing a number in the high
volume stores."
Be careful with fire:
There are babes
in the woods.

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