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History

18th June 2006

1:44am: Gorillaz named in US 'pay-for-play' scandal
Gorillaz are one of four artists named in a report by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer on how EMI records (the parent record company of Virgin Records, Gorillaz' US record company) offered illegal financial benefits to obtain airplay and boost the chart position of its artists. The report alleges that EMI did this by bribing radio station employees with concert tickets, video games, and hotel and airfare expenses; providing a stream of financial inducements to radio stations to assist with overhead costs; using independent promoters as conduits for the illegal payments to radio stations; and engaging in fraudulent call-in campaigns to increase the airplay of particular songs.

The report, released on 15th June, is uncontested by EMI, who have paid $3.75 million to settle the claim, and in addition have agreed to restructure their promotional operations in the United States. The report also names the Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Norah Jones as other artists who have benefited from this kind of assistance, which is illegal under US law. In the last few months, the three other Major record companies have also settled claims with the Attorney General.

It should be pointed out that the report does not suggest that Gorillaz themselves undertook any of these activities, just that their US record company did on their behalf, and that Gorillaz benefitted from it. Full press release here.


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