To the surprise of approximately one person who has been living in a cave since World War 2, one of the major music labels (Sony/BMG) today announced the $10 million settlement of a case with NY Attorney General Spitzer regarding its radio promotion practices. The payments by some labels to radio stations to promote certain music was outlawed in the 1950's in the infamous "payola" scandals, but it's been a thinly kept industry secret for years that variants of this practice continued through the use of independent promoters. Expect more settlements from additional labels, and it's unlikely that the large radio networks (which actually accepted the cash & gifts) are going to escape unscathed. Score yet another one for Spitzer...It's sometimes hard to understand what law enforcement has actually been doing for years in these segments where every one knew about these types of practices, whether it's insurance or radio promotion.
Update: Spitzers office has posted a PDF with a variety of the incriminating documents here. Amazing how brazen and routine this activity was, given that it's entirely illegal.