Friday, May 12, 2006

SPITZER PAYOLA PROBE goes country --
Music Row record label Universal South was specifically cited for wrongdoing as part of a $12 million payola settlement announced Thursday between its parent, Universal Music Group, and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

A 41-page consent decree spells out at least two instances of attempts by Universal South to improperly influence radio airplay. The settlement agreement cites a 2003 case in which a Universal South representative swapped a $2,500 laptop computer for additional record "spins" for certain artists on a Rochester, N.Y., radio station.

It also details an offer by Universal South to fly a radio staff member and a guest to any concert by singer Pat Green for a certain amount of radio airplay within a specific timeframe.