The Sound Of Money

A form of payola is alive and well, according to the L.

A. Times, which ran a page one story about it yesterday. This time around,

independent record promotion men aren't supplying cash, drugs and hookers to

radio station programmers in exchange for playing specific songs, according to

the Times (something that some indie record promo men have been known to

do during the first half of the '80s). Instead, record companies and the promo

men who represent them are providing stations that play ball, so to speak, with

"money, stereos, luxury cars and exotic vacations." As well as delivering

bands, at no charge, for concerts promoted by the stations. The stations argue

that they are under no obligation to play a particular record, just because a

record company flys members of their staff somewhere to check out a band, or

deliver a band to play at an event. Times staff writer Chuck Philips

also writes that certain record promoters provide stations with "annual

budgets" of "from $15,000 to $100,000" in exchange for providing "exclusive

access to their program directors." "The budgetary investment allows us to

become partners in radio stations' success," explains one of the indie record

promoters. And the beat goes on.