Conyers asks for payola hearings

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The House of Representatives should hold hearings on whether radio-station
owners are requiring record companies to pay in return for playing their signed
artists' music, a practice known as 'payola,' Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.)
said.

'Radio stations are trying to evade the laws pertaining to these payola
payments by accepting them in the form of gifts, vacation travel and other
luxuries at the expense of the record labels,' Conyers wrote to House Judiciary
Committee chairman James Sensenbrenner (D-Wis.).

'The record companies then are forced to spend most of their promotional
budgets on persuading radio stations to play the more popular musicians and are
less able to help newer, less profitable artists reach the market,' he
added.

Conyers blamed consolidation in the radio industry for putting too much power
in the hands of too few owners, which 'significantly increased the power of a
limited number of resulting station owners as the only outlets for music.'

Conyers is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary
Committee.

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