Universal Music Group Settles With New York Attorney General

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and UMG Recordings Inc. have reached a settlement whereby the world’s largest record label will cease its “pay-for-play” practices aimed at getting more radio airplay for specific artists. Although most of the allegations involved independent record promotion firms hired by Universal Music Group’s non-country labels, an independent promoter hired by Nashville-based Universal South Records was cited for offering a free trip for two to any Pat Green concert in the U.S. in exchange for any station in New York state that played Green’s single, “Guy Like Me,” at least 60 times during a specific time period. Additionally, Spitzer alleges that WBEE-FM, a country station in Rochester, N.Y., accepted a laptop computer valued at $2,512 in exchange for airplay for Joe Nichols and McHayes. Green no longer records for Universal South, and artists are generally never made aware of the specific activities of a label’s promotion department and its independent contractors. UMG will pay $12 million to settle charges in New York. In previous settlements with Spitzer’s office, Sony BMG paid $10 million and Warner Music Group paid $5 million.