Payola became a household word in the 1950s. The decade’s music scene was the convergence of a number of factors—the rise of rock ’n’ roll and R&B , the introduction of the inexpensive 45 rpm single, radio’s shift to Top 40 music (once television post-war prosperity and the emergence of the teenager as an economic force. Records began to replace live performance as the main way to hear—and sell—music. And labels recognized that popular disc jockeys could influence sales. What started in the 50’s has never stopped. In 2007, I hosted a panel on payola at the Freepress Conference in Memphis. Pay to play, continues to dominate the music industry.
Watch the 2:00 minute video below.