Madonna's Label Reaches Deal Over Payola Scandal
Bosses at Madonna's record label Warner Music Group are working on a deal to stamp out the company's alleged bribery of DJs and rigging of ratings.
New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer is working with the bosses to halt the payola scandal, with has uncovered schemes designed largely to hype their acts in order to score higher returns.
He tells the New York Post, "It was corrupting the airwaves for new talent trying to break through on their own merits."
Bosses at Warner say they are pleased with the outcome, adding, "We consider this to have been a valuable process. From our perspective, radio cannot be too consumer-driven."
Four months ago, Spitzer extracted a $10 million (GBP5.5 million) settlement from industry leader Sony BMG to break up its payola ring involving DJs, radio station executives and crooked middlemen.
Spitzer, also probing other labels for similar allegations, accuses Warner of handing out cases of iPods and handfuls of $800 (GBP440) gift cards at top malls, paying cash bribes of up to $20,000 (GBP11,100) to DJs and stations, and giving away luxury VIP road trips with stars such as Madonna.
It is also alleged, among other things, that New York radio station Z100 collected $544.06 (GBP302) for a single day's plug of pop singer Jewel and dancehall star Wayne Wonder. On another day, Z100 is said to have got $90.35 (GBP50) for a promo of LIL' KIM.
As part of the new deal, Warner will pay $50,000 (GBP27,700) for Spitzer's legal costs and give $5 million (GBP2.7 million) to the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to hand out to non-profit organisations for music education.