Nov 19, 2014

Payola: Still a Problem

A friend of mine and fellow musician Gentle Jones has come across a new kind of payola. The major labels are careful these days to be clever in the way they pay off radio and media outlets but the independent artist is getting fucked in a different and quite blatant way.  The internet, after all this time is still new territory for music.  Back in 1999 my band was cutting edges being on and Napster was still flying under the radar.  The industry has changed so much in 15 years and has steadily adapted and found new ways to help and rip off artists every chance they get.  Which is why many have elected to bypass the major labels. Some like Gentle Jones are going through smaller independent labels and some merely do it themselves.  Technology has made creating and distributing music cheap and simple but there are apparently still obstacles. Jones's article highlights first hand what he's been dealing with in trying to promote a new album he's been working on with High Elders called Forest Of Pencils.

Exerpt from

I sent the video to several music blogs and the response was incredible! Hot Press Magazine called the video, "Stunning... Eye-popping... Fabulous!" However, among these blogs I emailed were several who directly asked me for money just to post the video! This type of payola is increasingly common online these days. Many of those payola blogs are just automated content retweeted by cheap twitterbots and of no real value to an aspiring artist because real people don't actually check the content. Here I've posted a few of the emails I got in response to the video just to give other artists and music fans an idea of what its like to be independent in today's music business and the sorts of predatory folks who will try and juice you, many of them openly admit they are using twitterbots to promote your content:

--Subject: Re: New Video! High Elders Surrounded By Lights
To: Gentle Jones 

$100 it'll be up by midnight and emailed to other blogs affiliated with me--


--Subject: Re: New Video! High Elders - Surrounded By Lights
To: Gentle Jones 

For general posts we charge a small fee of $10.00 for standard placement and $25.00 for featured placement which includes a 3 day tweeting of the video on our Twitter page personally.

If you are unable to pay we will put the video/song in consideration for placement. As we get 100's of emails a day for artist placements. If you are selected we will email you the link to the video on our site and will tweet it out one time after being posted.

If interested please send the payment via Paypal to


Man, what scumbags.

Check out Gentle Jones:
Twitter @gentlejones
Gentle Jones Facebook
Gentle Jones Youtube 

Watch the video for Surrounded By Lights here make sure to subscribe and let him know what you think.

Also read my 2005 post from my Boycott The Music Industry blog telling my personal story with major labels, payola and a bigtime payola lawsuit that Sony Music quietly lost.

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