We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Payola?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
MyLawQuestions is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At MyLawQuestions, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Payola is a commercial bribe paid to someone who agrees to engage in promotion for a product or service. While it is legal to pay for promotion, the payment must be disclosed to make it clear that a promotion is being sponsored. If this disclosure is not made, the promotion may be considered illegal. The concept of payola originated in the record industry, and has since expanded to include commercial bribes in general.

In the music world, popularity of music is determined in part by the air play it gets on radio stations. This is used to compile statistics, and can also lead to increased sales for individual artists and records. In the early days of radio, it was extremely common to pay for play, with record companies offering bonuses to radio stations in exchanging for playing certain songs more often. This built to a head in the 1950s and 1960s, and there were a number of payola scandals, sometimes involving large fines for parties convicted of accepting bribes.

Any time a person in a position of influence accepts a payment for promotion and doesn't disclose that payment, it can be considered a form of payola. Government agencies like the Federal Communications Commission in the United States are charged with setting and enforcing rules surrounding promotion and advertising, and can investigate and take action when they suspect payola may be involved. In cases where the payments are clearly disclosed, the situation is legal and no regulatory steps need to be taken.

Some record companies have found ways to get around payola laws, such as using third party promotional tools to get radio stations airing specific songs more often. This sometimes skirts the line of legality. For up-and-coming artists who lack the clout of record company backing, this practice may be a topic of debate and dispute, as they may argue it places them in an unfair position. People who don't have the connections and ability to get around payola laws may find their albums getting less air play. This can reduce sales, make it harder to get bookings for live events, and otherwise interfere with the development of a career.

People who suspect bribery of a particular individual or entity like a radio station can report it to regulators. It helps to provide supporting information so regulators can thoroughly investigate the situation and make a determination on whether to move forward with a court case to assess fines and other penalties.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a MyLawQuestions researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.