Spotify And Payola?

Written by | June 20, 2020 8:13 am | No Comments


I was going through Spotify’s new releases, where they highlight the favorites (not “New Music Fridays” though you could include it) and whenever I reached a musician I didn’t know I would check out who they record for and guess what, with a handful of exceptions they are all signed to the majors.

I follow pop music closely enough to assume if I don’t know somebody that they are brand new. So how is it possible that brand new music found its way onto major playlists. How does it happen?

How about this, if you are a ma and pa store or a small indie, you can’t get on those lists by calling your buddy at Spotify and saying “do me a solid” -they won’t do you a solid and you won’t get anyone to return your call or email anyway. The three majors UNDOUBTEDLY have a department whose sole job is to get on streaming services playlists.

If you have read “Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business”  by Fredric Dannen it is clear that the only thing that could get you on a radio station faster than money was booze and hookers. AND the 2020s, as a society and culture, is vastly worst than the 1980s. We have codified corruption in the highest levels of Government, what do you think is happening at streaming service, at record labels, who is getting what for what?

You have two subsets:

1 – People whose job is to get songs on Playlists

2 – People who can put songs on playlists

Do you not think, has “Hit Men” not taught us, where this ends up?

A Spotify or Apple Music  putting a song on a playlist can’t get you a hit but it can get you attention more and better than an interview in The New York Times. With all the clutter, it is imperative that the majors get themselves heard and will pay for it, they’ve proven that many, many times.

I am not claiming any streaming service takes forms of payola (huge advertising budgets and individual inducements among them) but I hope I am still alive when the scandals hit


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