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Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
EMI settles 'pay-for-play' probe
Sir Mick Jagger
The Rolling Stones are among the artists represented by EMI
Record label EMI Music North America has agreed to pay $3.75m (2m) to settle an investigation into paying radio stations to play its artists.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer alleged the company gave Rolling Stones concert tickets to a radio executive in exchange for airplay.

EMI has neither agreed with nor disputed Spitzer's allegations, but agreed to reform its practices.

Record companies in the US cannot offer financial incentives under a 1960 law.

The $3.75m will be paid to nonprofit music education groups in New York.


In a statement, Mr Spitzer claimed that EMI had provided illegal "financial benefits to obtain airplay and boost the chart position of its artists by bribing radio station employees with concert tickets, video games and hotel and air fare expenses".

Artists who benefited from the "payola" scheme included Coldplay, Norah Jones and Gorillaz, according to Mr Spitzer's statement.

Mr Spitzer alleged that a radio executive in Watertown, New York, was willing to offer "what it takes" in order to get hold of the Rolling Stones tickets for a gig in Toronto.

In exchange for the tickets, Mr Spitzer claimed that Virgin Records, which is owned by the EMI group, received airplay for the Rolling Stones and US rock group The Exies.


"When a record label engages in an elaborate scheme to purchase air time for its artists, it violates state and federal law and presents consumers with a skewed picture of the country's proclaimed 'best' and 'most popular' music," Mr Spitzer said.

EMI said it was pleased the matter had been resolved.

"In addition to voluntarily adopting strict policies last year, we have been working co-operatively with the Attorney General to reinforce these policies," the company said in a statement.

Mr Spitzer launched a nationwide investigation into alleged wrongdoing by music and radio companies in 2004.

The world's largest record company, Universal, agreed to pay out $12m (6.3m) last month after a similar investigation.

Sony BMG and Warner Music recently paid out $10m (5.39m) and $5m (2.69m) respectively, following the investigation.

Pay-for-play costs Universal $12m
12 May 06 |  Entertainment
US radio giant 'accepted payola'
09 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
Pay-for-play costs Sony BMG $10m
25 Jul 05 |  Entertainment
Spitzer targets music companies
22 Oct 04 |  Business
Download demand boosts EMI profit
23 May 06 |  Business
Warner Music throws out EMI bid
03 May 06 |  Business

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