http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,195180,00.html Lindsay Lohan's Record Company Fined $12M Thursday, May 11, 2006 By Roger Friedman PHOTOS Lindsay Lohan's Record Company Fined $12M The New York state attorney general has levied a $12 million fine against Universal Music Group for payola. This is the largest fine so far in the war between Eliot Spitzer and the music industry, surpassing the $10 million that Sony had to pay and the $5 million for Warner Music Group. But Universal home of many overnight stars including several rappers whove come and gone would be the place for this. The company has had enormous success, but at the same time encountered lawsuits from middle-men distributors claiming inflated sales numbers double dipping at the cash register, so to speak. Now we have some proof of whats going on there, thanks to memos supplied as evidence by Spitzers office. Many of the acts are those youve never heard of. But others are illustrative of how Universal (which includes Island/Def Jam, Motown, Interscope and other labels) tried to force bad music down our throats. Spitzers office includes one very illuminating e-mail from a Universal promotion man: Guys: We need to get confirmation on what we are doing with the station. Use these promotion [sic] to leverage airplay and rotations. And in fact, UMG was doing what it could to persuade radio stations to play its music. According to the report, they bought a laptop computer for at least one station and sent many people on expensive vacations. Their graft was in fact no different than that of the other companies Spitzer has fined, just more of it proportionately across the board. Take Lindsay Lohan. The teen actress was turned into a singer by Tommy Mottola, who made an interesting deal at Universal to start a label just for her. Mottola also managed Lohan, which no one questioned, and he claimed that UMG had put up $50 million to get the ball rolling. But Lohan is no singer, and no one, not even her movie fans, wanted her albums or to hear her on the radio. Nevertheless, the record company persisted. A series of e-mails in June 2005 shows what was happening a manipulation of MTVs Total Request Live show that airs every afternoon and can seriously affect a new records fortunes. UMG, according to Spitzers reports, was spending money at radio stations and for TRL to stuff the ballot box (my words) and turn losers into winners. The memo series is all about one subject: We are hiring a request company starting Monday to jack TRL for Lindsay Guys this is a no win situation how should I respond...there is no airplay we have been pursuing Even more troubling, but not surprising, is a group called Dream originally found by Sean "Diddy" Combs. A July 2003 e-mail tells the story: Okay, this is not fun for me. Ive been consumed all day with calls with etc bitching about our radio picture on Dream. Confidentially pop has spent $196,000 and r/c has spent $72,000 ... This is embarrassing a total lack of accountability. We have gotten ripped off beyond belief, we better turn this thing around or its our a**. Thats almost $300,000 and they are looking for some heads bad bad bad If I find out that deals were cut with lack of airplay and overnight spins starting with the nationals, as they say heads are gonna roll, including mine. Of course, the record companies are not alone in creating this atmosphere of payola. The radio stations have encouraged and accepted it. Spitzers office is conducting an investigation of the stations parent companies, most glaringly Clear Channel, and we should be hearing about those results and more fines soon.