Spitzer probe on music industry

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office is investigating whether the United States' largest record companies are skirting payola laws by hiring middlemen to influence which songs are heard on the public airwaves.

Spitzer's office served subpoenas last month on Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, EMI Group and Warner Music Group, seeking copies of all e-mails, letters, contracts and other correspondence between the companies and the industry's leading independent promoters, reports Seattle Times.

The London-based EMI Group PLC record label said it and other companies in the music and broadcast industries have been queried by Spitzer about the promotion of their recordings on radio stations.

"We are cooperating fully," EMI said in statement. "EMI has a long-standing, strict written policy prohibiting unlawful radio promotion practices, and that policy was reaffirmed internally earlier this year.", wrote Indianapolis Star.

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