NY Times Report: Recent Spin Programs Get Spitzer's Attention
October 25, 2006 at 7:47 AM (PT)
According to a NEW YORK TIMES article "Ads Test Payola Case Settlement" by JEFF LEEDS (10/25), within the last two weeks two labels, ROADRUNNER and BLACKGROUND, had purchased music advertisements designed to inflate the monitored spins of NICKELBACK's "Far Away" and JO JO's "Too Little, Too Late," respectively, on ENTERCOM stations as part of a "CD Preview" program.
ENTERCOM, which is being sued by SPITZER's office and recently lost a motion to dismiss that suit (NET NEWS 10/17), declined comment on the matter to the NY TIMES, and to ALL ACCESS as well. CBS just settled last week with SPITZER (NET NEWS 10/19) for $2 million not to engage in such practices. Settlements with other radio broadcasters are pending.
... the decisions for these two acts were made by these two companies, outside of our control.
Both ROADRUNNER and BLACKGROUND are UNIVERSAL-distributed labels, but UNIVERSAL denies ownership or control of either label, saying in a statement: "We’re investigating these allegations but the decisions for these two acts were made by these two companies, outside of our control. We made them aware of our new promotion policies and have encouraged them to follow the new procedures."
Those procedures were spelled out in a recent $12 million settlement between SPITZER's office and UNIVERSAL (NET NEWS 5/11), in which label execs "are prohibited from, among other things, buying advertisements for the purpose of misleading the independent services that compile airplay data. If UNIVERSAL purchases a commercial containing more than 60 seconds of song -- potentially enough for a tracking service to count it as regular airplay -- the company must provide written notice of the ad."
The NY TIMES article quotes SPITZER's spokeswoman, JUANITA SCARLETT, as saying, "The attorney general’s office was aware of the possible violation of the terms of our agreement with UNIVERSAL, and we are looking into the matter." No word on what legal or financial remedies SPITZER will seek.