Drama! FCC Asks RIAA To Investigate Payola Allegations

Published: Thursday 5th Sep 2019 by Rashad

While many of our favorite artists have fielded allegations of benefiting from “payola” – the act of a platform (streaming or radio outlets mainly) accepting pay or bribes from record labels to boost an artist’s chart or certification stats – the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) believes the practice has simply gotten out of hand.

With Gold, Platinum, and Diamond certifications being handed out left and right thanks to the Recording Industry of America’s inclusion of streaming in its tallying since 2016, the FCC – which stands as the United States’ “primary authority for communications law, regulation, and technological innovation” – has begun a probe to determine if these successes are being accomplished legitimately.

More inside:

O’Rielly for FCC

On Wednesday, FCC commissioner Mike O’Rielly sent an official letter to the Recording Industry Association of America asking the trade organization to investigate “possible violations of federal laws and regulations that expressly prohibit payola.” “Your association is uniquely situated to survey the practices of your industry and respond to press reports regarding alleged practices,” O’Rielly writes. “My primary goal is to get to the bottom of existing industry practices to determine whether the law is being followed or whether any problematic conduct must be addressed.” [source]


First, it should be noted the practice of “payola” is not illegal as long as it is publicized and there is recorded information that details the transaction that occurred between the label (or artist representative) and radio station or streaming platform.  Conversely, the act of undisclosed pay-for-play has been prohibited since 1960 following “a congressional investigation of corruption at radio.”  The latter is believed to be what is presently rampant in the music industry.

Secondly, it should be noted the recording association is not directly being accused of actively participating in the practice of payola (yet) as much as there is suspicion, hence the call to investigate the possibility of infraction.  Keep in mind the RIAA only certifies artists AFTER a record label submits request for certification.  As such, the “unique position” referred to by O’Rielly in his statement is the organization’s role in reviewing, auditing, and accepting or rejecting those label requests for fairness and accuracy before awarding a Gold, Platinum, or Diamond plaque.

As of time reported, the RIAA has not responded.  Click here to read the letter they received in full.

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  1. WhyYouMad? September 5, 2019

    so wait…

    cardi beats nicki for certifications and now the FCC is investigating payola? i cannot. this is pricessl

    • WhyYouMad? September 5, 2019


    • SMH September 6, 2019

      LOL i said the same thing, all that ish folks talked about Nicki’s pure sales vs cardi’s streams yesterday, and now this. I hollered when I read this article. None of these kids’ little streaming faves are safe anymore lmfao!!

    • Lanafan1 September 6, 2019

      And Nicki announced her retirement on the same day

  2. WRTW? September 5, 2019

    Cardi is shaking

    • GTFOH September 6, 2019

      Why should Cardi be shaking when her songs are right where we can all see them. On Billboard charts, Spotify charts, Apple Music charts, Itunes, radio charts etc. It’s artists that get certifications and we haven’t seen it on the Hot 100 or in the upper regions of Spotify and Itunes that make me go WTF!

      • SMH September 6, 2019

        Um, thats exactly the reason why they’re under investigation, her songs are all over the place but the numbers don’t add up. Thats why cardi is shaking lol.

  3. Are You Kidding Me? September 5, 2019

    FCC stands for Fraud Camilla Cabello.

    • only facts September 6, 2019

      RIGHT! Epic Records paid to have her song played all day yesterday on pop radio at the top of each hour lol.

  4. Meme September 6, 2019

    Not to take credit from no one but there are plenty big names who don’t play fear. After beyonce and Kanye got caught I felt like plenty other artist was faking numbers.

    • Jayy September 6, 2019

      Yoo, all I’m gonna say is it’s gonna be FUNNY & INTERESTING to see what this investigation brings and what “artists” get affected by this. J Cole recently said it “A lot of y’all ain’t as big as you seem, faking your streams from machines” but bruh. Didn’t think s*** would hit the fan this quick lol

      • Faf September 6, 2019

        Katy got caught for doing bribery for radio stations

        So it’s not far fetched Atlantic is doing the same s*** cardi and lilnasx

      • Faf September 6, 2019

        Katy got caught for doing bribery for radio stations

        So it’s not far fetched Atlantic is doing the same s*** cardi and Columbia w lilnasx

    • Bam September 6, 2019

      How did they get caught?

    • Tyty September 6, 2019

      Try again neither Beyoncé or looney ass Kanye regularly submit their albums or singles for certification there is nothing suspicious about their sales or certifications for any of their singles or albums. Beyoncé ain’t going around claiming formation is triple platinum ??. Your fave could very well be one who uses Payola regularly.

      • I Told You September 6, 2019

        speak on it.

      • SMH September 6, 2019

        Wrong, tidal was exposed last year for faking their streaming numbers, which inflated their certifications. beyonce and kanye are tied in to this as well.

    • Tyty September 6, 2019

      Falling for that tidal propaganda… anyone who is anyone knows apple and Spotify had a negative campaign against tidal… nullifying a black owned streaming business that would compete and allow artists to have power and earn more than pennies from streaming. Again Beyoncé and Kanye are not submitting suspicious certifications to Riaa. Both of them have experienced sales decline normal with artists of their age and generation.

      • Haterz Gon‘ Hate September 6, 2019

        Somebody better call Christ Brown and tell it!!!

    • Caleb September 7, 2019

      Beyonce is the last person you could accuse of payola considering how criminally undercertified her albums are! I AM Sasha Fierce has been stuck at 2x platinum since 2009 when everyone knows it should be way more than that. The same is true of her other albums.

    • Caleb September 7, 2019

      Didn’t Rihanna get certified platinum on the day of her album release because a phone company purchased over a million copies of her album? Give it a rest.

      • Wallis Uzoagba September 7, 2019

        You just a cardi fan

  5. Jeans September 6, 2019

    I always wondered if Ariana hit songs were a result of payola. Hmmm. I mean, she is popular but I’m just sayin.

    • only facts September 6, 2019

      RIGHT! If anyone, she’s going to expose Ariana. Went all those years not getting a #1 then she suddenly gets two back to back? Hmmm…

      • Haterz Gon‘ Hate September 6, 2019

        But what is not suspicious about Ariana is that her album rollout followed a traditional trajectory: Huge Hit lead single followed subsequent hit album. Also worth noting that her ascent is marked by a change in the style of her music – so it appears they found her ‘Lane’ that resonates best with her fans (and casual listeners) and they engaged in it

  6. Rico September 6, 2019

    Nicki is really a sore looser

    • King of Kingz September 6, 2019

      ?Nicki’s name is nowhere in this yet you uncover fans always got her name in ya mouths, swear she’s washed up but then say she’s powerful enough to this, make ya minds sis

    • Jayy September 6, 2019

      Damn son, by you bringing Nicki name in an unrelated post about the FCC launching an investigation about payola makes it seem like you hinting you might be nervous about something, or someone.. LOL

      • Qua September 6, 2019

        To be quite honest I drive lyft and doordash all over Ohio and also Pennsylvania some parts at least and on those radio stations I rarely hear nicki being played her old music but Megatron and that Barbie song got certifications I just don’t see how even in atl my cousins said they barely hear her as well

      • Faf September 6, 2019

        Because it’s not just radio play it’s video views and streams meaning even if they put nicki in 10000 playlists on Apple Music and u got ur device on shuffle u gon hear it

        No one listens to the radio for music anymore that’s why they play the same 20 songs

      • Coupe September 7, 2019

        ummm first thing lets state the obvious…RIAA has NOTHING to do with RADIO! like that is completely out of the damn equation! how dumb are you….it doesn’t matter if the song is on the radio i.e…Rihanna’s Man Down wasnt a radio hit but it’s 2x Platinum…why? well look at the sales and streams. so as far as any payola on the radio front has nothing to do with the RIAA. not ONE certification has anything to do with radio. if you dont hear a song as much maybe it’s because the public are streaming it or bought it so there is no need to promote/play it as much. certifications are from the RIAA not Billboard. This is why a “Man Down” can be double platinum peaking at #59 and some other radio hits peak at #8 and can’t scan GOLD.

    • SMH September 6, 2019

      LOL cardi’s exposure getting you back in your feeling over nicki again lol

  7. Letmetruthnu September 6, 2019

    Omg lmfaooo y’all that mad nicki just needs to take her L gracefully you guys always make her look bad I have to laugh….. Cardi b greatest female rapper y’all !

    • Boytoy1814 September 6, 2019


    • SMH September 6, 2019

      Still bringing up nicki on a post that has nothing to do with her. cardi got yall seriously shook because shes about to be exposed lmao.

    • A girl that knows September 6, 2019


      • A girl that knows September 6, 2019

        Cardi B is the Greatest Karaoke Rapper every.

  8. ? Jasmine’s Orange Juice ? September 6, 2019

    Lizzo slayed and snatched Nicki Minaj and Normani’s wig

    They are done!!!!

    • The Real Princess Jasmine September 6, 2019

      No one is done besides your bald headed mother go suck CardiBs herppee infested vagginnaa you dirty asss ccuunnttt

      • ? Jasmine’s Orange Juice ? September 6, 2019

        Biatch i think you are talking about yourself? Are u having yeast infection? Are u running out of weave or wig?
        Everyone knows u are bald

        U are just mad coz Lizzo forced your faves to fall free to #66 and force Nicki to retire

        Lizzo ended Nicki Minaj career and crippled Normani’s chance for top 20 ?????

    • SMH September 6, 2019

      Yeah, and when their done with this payola investigation, Nicki will still be the biggest selling rapper, normani will still have her career, and the only thing lizzo will be slaying is the nearest popeyes or KFC.

  9. Boytoy1814 September 6, 2019

    Whatever! This practice has been going on for decades. Next story!!!

  10. ? Jasmine’s Orange Juice ? September 6, 2019

    So see after Nicki Minaj and Normano’s payola and hype, both r still grammyless and no number ones


    • SMH September 6, 2019

      You better worrry about your payola faves cardi and lizzo, what are they gonaa do when their frauds are exposed?

  11. Depress not on hot 100 September 6, 2019

    They need to look at fradi b and quality control extra carefully. something fraudulent about that whole team.

  12. Freak September 6, 2019

    Cardi been real quiet lately… she usually have ha big herp mouth wide open.

    • Faf September 6, 2019

      They tryna write her album she gotta learn how to pronounce the words

  13. Alpha Pi September 6, 2019

    Let’s hope they expose the machines Atlantic records used to fake streams for some of their artists.

  14. Exposed September 6, 2019

    expose the Grammys too! insiders are saying some on the grammy voting committee are taking bribe money from record labels for votes.

  15. gag September 6, 2019

    lmao this got to be about cardi ?

  16. only facts September 6, 2019

    Nicki is behind this. It’s sad that she cannot accept defeat and “retire” with grace. Girl, you’re embarrassing yourself. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICES

    • SMH September 6, 2019

      Yeah, because Nicki has the power to influence a 60 year old organization. Girl shut up lol.

      • only facts September 6, 2019

        Girl, anyone can write an anonymous letter asking for an investigation of anything. You’re blind. Read a book. Nicki is the one that will be exposed and looking foolish with this.

    • Blast Off September 7, 2019

      The fact that y’all gotta make up these wild scenarios about Nicki Minaj is pathetic clown s***. Y’all never have proof and almost always convince yourself of the b******* in your mind.

  17. only facts September 6, 2019

    Sidenote: the guy in the pic above looks….interesting. Can he be trusted?

    • gina September 6, 2019

      hes probably cardi’s manager lmao

  18. only facts September 6, 2019

    Watch this backfire on Nicki and they expose HER as the one that used payola illegally lol. She wants to end Cardi so badly. I cannot wait for the investigation to be completed and show that Cardi’s certifications are legit and NICKI is the fraud. She is so salty and bitter! Why can she not accept that her time is up and her style of rap is outdated. The general public is over you Nicki. We know this is you

    • SMH September 6, 2019

      Damn Nicki really has control of your mind lol. Nicki Minaj doesn’t have the power to influence a 60 year organization that has already been investigating this practice for decades. Learn how to read; they’re investigating the current wave of artists that are receiving certifications on a daily basis. That would be cardi dear, not Nicki. Nicki’s SALES (not streams) are already counted for, confirmed and certified. cardi is the one getting certifications for music that hasn’t even sold 100k copies. So brace yourself for cardi’s exposure sweetie, your Nicki hatred isn’t gonna stop it.

      • only facts September 6, 2019

        B****, anyone can anonymously reach out to the FCC or any other organization and ask for an investigation. Are you serious right now? It doesn’t take “power and influence”…it takes righting an anonymous letter.

  19. ??? September 6, 2019

    lmaoooooo uh oh, the #RETARDIgang rats are SHOOK and SCARED AF today lmfaoooooooooooo!!!

  20. Will_xo September 6, 2019

    I love cardi but isn’t God great I mean how can she beat NIckis award as most certified RIAA’s nost certified female rapper it doesnt add up sorry and I’m bardi gang

    • Ynglife September 7, 2019

      Yo I swear I was thinking that.. this girl has One album and about 4 to 6 features and u telling me she already beat Nicki. Something about that doesnt sounds right

    • Caleb September 7, 2019

      It’s easy. Cardi’s certs are for her own songs and not someone else’s that she featured on.

      • Wallis Uzoagba September 7, 2019


  21. Ratedxxx September 6, 2019

    So beyondfake annd cardi b are about too s*** themselves….
    Because all i hear is the same song on the radio over and over again
    Hence why I dont even listen to the radio anymore

  22. Stevone l Jackson September 6, 2019

    Some wigs are about to get snatched b**** some awards are about to get taken… LMAO none of you fools can be mad if evidence is found that your Favs were paying radio stations to play their records get over it b**** is it your record no grow the f*** up….

  23. Mr RCW September 6, 2019

    Cardi scared shitless I’m sure ?

  24. Ratedxxx September 6, 2019

    It’s ironic how right after cardi b is certified

    That there’s an investigation

    What does Nicki has to do with this…you people are so freaking bitter when it comes to her

  25. Queen Karma❤ September 6, 2019

    The girls better tape their lace fronts down, it could get really messy.

  26. Just Sayin’ September 6, 2019

    Lmfao!!!!!!!!!!! All the fakes about to be exposed!!!!! Now lets see if these artist are as hype as they claim to be!!!!!!! I got my popcorn ready?????

  27. Clocked you September 6, 2019

    Nothing is going to happen. It’ll get swept under the rug.

  28. Justafan September 6, 2019

    run Ariana, RUN!

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