Definition of payola in English:



mass nounNorth American
  • The practice of bribing someone in return for the unofficial promotion of a product in the media.

    ‘if a record company spends enough money on payola, it can make any record a hit’
    • ‘Now for the past 50 years, we have done everything we could to get music on the radio, including at one time payola.’
    • ‘I suppose that the very fact that payola is illegal acknowledges the power of the media, even if, in this case, it is a simple matter of taste-making for financial gain.’
    • ‘The past five months have brought charges of price gouging, illegal insider trading, kickbacks and payola that have rocked the industry.’
    • ‘After all, we are talking about the industry that invented payola here.’
    • ‘What payola's moralizing critics failed, and still fail, to grasp is that the music industry has always felt itself a victim, and not the perpetrator, of the system.’
    • ‘Artists and publishers have incentives to engage in payola because copyrights allow them to collect rent on each song played or record sold.’
    • ‘Labels sidestep payola laws by hiring independent promoters to lobby and compensate radio stations for playing certain records.’
    • ‘But the media has long since been corrupted by a far more sophisticated, legal system of payola and influence peddling.’
    • ‘Some economists have suggested we were better off in the age of payola.’
    • ‘There were a lot of good records in those days, but no one paid enough payola to get them played at the time.’
    • ‘The book does have a dark edge, exposing the shady business deals, tales of payola, and personal dramas.’
    • ‘Granted, this opens up the service to the type of payola that haunts the radio industry.’
    • ‘They have to believe that we would reject payola in any form.’
    • ‘Let's enjoy this new format before the labels start offering payola to bloggers.’
    • ‘Average payola in dollars paid by record companies to US commercial radio stations to add a song to a playlist: 1,000’
    • ‘I'd heard of payola as I entered the music business professionally in the mid seventies, but naïvely thought it would never apply to me.’
    • ‘But according to one of Derek's commentors, payola is even more pervasive in Europe.’
    • ‘Is payola so widespread and successful in the radio industry that it must then also be the lubricant that greases our health machine?’
    • ‘Similarly, his worries about drugs, payola, and other perils of the music industry prompted him to sell RCA Records too quickly and cheaply.’
    • ‘In radio payola, you're trying to seed a large market and hope that something will then take off through the free choice of the consumers.’
    dishonesty, dishonest dealings, unscrupulousness, deceit, deception, duplicity, double-dealing, fraud, fraudulence, misconduct, lawbreaking, crime, criminality, delinquency, wrongdoing, villainy
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1930s: from pay + -ola as in Victrola, the name of a make of gramophone.