Dan Mason, Farid Suleman, Lowry Mays and David Field got a letter from Capitol Hill this week.
The heads of CBS, Citadel, Clear Channel and Entercom were written by Sen. Russ Feingold, who said he was troubled by what he called possible violations of voluntary rules the companies had agreed to following a settlement over payola practices. The letter was distributed to media outlets.
Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, cites reports indicating that some stations owned by Clear Channel “are requiring local, unsigned and independent musicians to grant a royalty-free right and license to the music upon submission to the radio programmers, which would appear to violate the voluntary agreement they entered into following the settlement.”
He called on the companies to “reaffirm their commitment to making air play decisions based on artistic merit instead of on the musicians’ or labels’ willingness to provide thinly veiled bribes through payola.”
Feingold also asks if the groups, as promised, have established and publicized procedures for music submissions and access to music programmers, and whether access is through each station, to corporate playlists and testing pools, or both.
His office also quoted industry opponent Michael Bracy of the Future of Music Coalition as saying Clear Channel had agreed to address the problem of payola, but “its latest actions show it wasn’t sincere” and that the company had substituted one brand of payola for another.