Payola does not affect music quality reggae and dancehall

Payola or bribe induced airplay isn't seriously hurting the quality of dancehall/reggae music broadcast, argues musicologist Dennis Howard.
HOWARD... to blame payola for the decline in music is to take the easy way out

Speaking at a recent seminar on the topic organised by the Broadcast Commission of Jamaica (BCJ).

His comments conflict with the position of the Commission which regulates broadcast media. His reasons are twofold: First, good artistes also engage in payola; and second youth look to the internet rather than radio for new music.

"To blame payola for decline in music is to take the easy way out," stated Howard, "it presupposes that good artistes don't engage in payola."
Howard supports the BCJs effort to criminalise payola, but doesn't think it will affect the quality of music on the airways. He argued that payola no longer determines a hit tune on the streets and dances in the island.

"Technology has liberated the listeners from the clutches of top 40 radio and of the bad artistes. I myself don't listen to radio. I listen to CDs and Youtube (internet site)," said Howard who is also a doctoral candidate in cultural studies at the University of the West Indies. "Payola is not the major dis-function in the industry. (Youths) are totally immersed with technology and cellphones. They do not rely on broadcast media to determine what they listen to. It puts traditional media on the bottom end. Youtube, Facebook, Last-fm and are major areas of choice.....The gentech nation (youths) is making their own choice."

Radio stations he added were the last to promote artistes including Konshens and Protoje.

"Traditional radio was the last to know," he said. "The gentech nation will never rely on broadcast media to determine what they listen to."BCJ Chairman professor Hopeton Dunn in his address said that payola affected the quality of music on the airways.

"People who are creating good quality music do not get the opportunity to get on air. This practice has to stop," stated Dunn. "We feel that payola is a criminal practice (and are recommending) stiff fines up to $5 million should we be able to catch any participant in this bad practise. We are of the opinion that the great majority of media are honest professional persons but because this issue has not been tackled it has been accepted as the norm and the way to go."

The seminar's agenda stated that Jamaica's broadcast, cable and entertainment industries are being adversely affected by payola copryight infringement and piracy. Panalists were both local and foreign based.

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