Payola is defined as a bribe given to a disc jockey to induce him to promote a particular record. Another definition says payola 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. This practice is as old as the very first minute the first song was made. Why should DJ’s and presenters perpetuate this illegality and make this canker fester at the expense of music development?
This unhealthy practice has seen the influx of junk music inundating our musical landscape. The practice controls a radio station’s playlist and broadcast process. Songs with less or no content at all are promoted whilst good songs are relegated to the background. Popular music and massive endorsement of music (hit songs) are not as a result of good music (technical aspect and content) but by the means of payola. Payola has been a global phenomenon and late in the 50’s it was treated as misdemeanour offense in the USA.
Funny enough lots of desperate musicians help in this ‘conspiracy’ by even advocating for its continuance and sustainability. I was shocked when one musician called Anda Rida was reported to have said that there is nothing wrong in paying payola. When asked if he had ever paid payola before he retorted, “Who said payola is bad, everybody want his or her song to be promoted so without motivating the DJ or the presenter how can your song be promoted well? Yes, I have paid payola to DJ’s and it’s exceedingly good to pay. Just that you need to know the kind of DJ’s and presenters who can really do great work for you after taking the money.”
Is it your obligation to motivate DJ’s before they discharge their core mandate for which they are duly rewarded by their employers? Early this year when Kwesi Pee was asked as to why he has been absent from the scene he said bluntly that payola has thwarted his advancement in the industry. Rex Omar and other stakeholders have all fought against this evil yet it still persists.
We only hope for the best for Ghana. Unfortunately if you have people like this Rida guy whose mentality is fraught with this faulty perception, then payola will be definitely hard to eradicate.