The widely reviled old record-industry practice of “payola” — where DJs are given money under-the-turntable to play certain records a label wants to promote — has just come out into the open. Now it’s called “pay for play” — and it’s all on the up-and-up.
For example, the Limp Bizkit single “Counterfeit” [750k QuickTime] , which appears to be the first “pay for play” record, was recently taken on by FM radio station KUFO in Portland, Oregon after the station struck a deal with the band’s label, Flip Records, and its distributor, Interscope, to play the single 50 times over the course of five weeks, reportedly in return for a $5,000 payment. According to KUFO, each airing of the single was preceded by a full disclosure as to the sponsored, informercial nature of its playing.
Although the “New York Times” reported that KUFO wanted money to play the Limp Bizkit single because it feared the record was too “hard” for its audience,
a station executive told MTV News that the record was, in fact, perceived as a possible hit, and that KUFO just wanted to get some of the record-company money that might otherwise have been spent on print advertising.
In any case, the single is now in regular rotation on KUFO, and Limp Bizkit’s manager says he sees the whole “pay for play” deal as a more efficient expenditure than shelling out money to fly the band around the country to play radio-station concerts.
Before the story broke, Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst talked with MTV News about the meaning and inspiration behind the now-controversial “Counterfeit.”
“[It's about] changing your whole identity. Being something you’re not, when everyone knows you’re not.” Durst said. “Every song on our record, that song and every song is about individuals. They have names, those songs have names, and those songs are about a couple of phony people that we knew… They just, they just
changed” [1MB QuickTime] .