Broadcast & Satellite

FCC Demands Demands Payola Answers From UMG, Sony, BMG

Republican FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly has demanded that Sony, UMG and WMG answer new “pay to play” allegations that surfaced in an August 2019 Radio Ink report.

O’Reilly wrote to Sony Music Entertainment SVP and Deputy General Counsel Wade Leak; Universal Music Group Head of Global Compliance Saheli Datta; and Warner Music Group SVP/Deputy General Counsel Trent Trappe demanding answers by the end of February:

 “While the [RIAA] response was appreciated, RIAA claimed that it was not in a position to survey its members’ anti-payola practices and submit responses collectively. Instead, it recommended that I reach out directly to each of you to gain insight into what processes your company has in place to ensure compliance with federal legal provisions. This letter is intended for that purpose.”

For O’Rielly, “Even the most cursory review of consumer complaints and assertions provides cause for concern regarding the persistence of payola. And, in recent months, some artists have responded forcefully against accusations of payola. which speaks to the seriousness of the issue. Yet, there is no shortage of accusations that financial enticement is in some cases driving chart rankings, album and song sales, and commercial success.”

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