Will the music industry morph into neo-Payola– but with virtual DJs– and is that OK? Alan Freed to Al/go/rhythm @soundopinions @allsongs


You know that we at SALSA have a significant interest in tech as well as medicine. You also may know that it extends to music. 

As I hit the “radio” button on our latest Spotify playlist this morning, I imagined a time when a record label or individual artist might be able to pay more to get his or her song of choice to appear next in my streaming queue. 

Many of us remember– or have parents that remember– the bad old days of payola– where a label could pay to play songs on relatively few radio stations with very high market penetration. Now, imagine the same thing focusing not on Alan Freed, but on an algorithm. I would argue that this more subtle, dispersed model may ultimately be more effective.

Is that OK? We already seem to acquiesce to personalized ads showing up above and next to our emails in exchange for the ability to message anyone, anytime. Are we willing to be subtly influenced by a virtual A&R man in exchange for any song, any time?

For your consideration,


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