Did you ever turn on the radio on the way to work and wonder, "Why are they still playing this music? I got sick of this track two weeks ago and I can't believe there is any listener out here who wasn't saturated long ago, like me."
Sony just dumped a lot of money to settle a payola charge. Apparently, the company e-mail records showed that the top executives of the company knew that money was being paid to bribe broadcasters to feature Sony music. Taking the case to judgment probably would have cost a lot more.
This is commercial bribery. It makes Sony artists look more popular than they are. But more importantly, the broadcaster principal ends up paying more money in copyright royalties. And the extra broadcasts probably result in additional purchases of the CDs, so additional copyright royalties were earned. And if the extra broadcasts make it look as if the music is more popular than it is, other broadcasters, looking at the spin numbers, might conclude they need to play the music more frequently, thus generating even more copyright royalties.
It's all about copyright royalties. Oink.
And don't you dare download any of their music for free from the web, or they will call down the Horny Bats from Copyright Hell to smite you so as to inflict justice upon your unworthy self, for having heartlessly deprived worthy, hardworking creative artists from their little copyright pittances.
But, hey. If they cheat on bribing broadcasters, what's the chances that maybe they might not pay every penny earned in royalties to the recording artists? For that matter, what's the chances that they might cheat in testimony to Congress and in courts about the extent of copyright theft and piracy.
I'm just asking, of course.