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Plugola is the illicit business practice of endorsing a product or service on radio or television for personal gain, without the consent of the network or stations. “Pluggers” have been known to accept bribes of money, alcohol, or free products and services. This contrasts greatly from commercial sponsorship because the benefits of the endorsement go to the individual talent or programmers, while the stations and networks receive no revenue.
Payola, in the music industry, is the illegal practice of payment or other inducement by record companies for the broadcast of recordings on commercial radio in which the song is presented as being part of the normal day’s broadcast. Under U.S. law, 47 U.S.C. § 317, a radio station can play a specific song in exchange for money, but this must be disclosed on the air as being sponsored airtime, and that play of the song should not be counted as a “regular airplay”.
The term has come to refer to any secret payment made to cast a product in a favorable light (such as obtaining positive reviews).
Some radio stations report spins of the newest and most popular songs to industry publications. The number of times the songs are played can influence the perceived popularity of a song.
The term payola is a combination of “pay” and “-ola” a common suffix of product names in the early 20th century, such as Pianola, Victrola, Amberola, or Crayola.[Payola has come to mean the payment of a bribe in commerce and in law to say or do a certain thing against the rules of law, but more specifically a commercial bribe. The FCC defines “payola” as a violation of the sponsorship identification rule that in 2005-06 resulted in tens of millions of dollars in fines to cable corporations in New York.
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