New York State Music Institutions Receive $13 Million in Grants From Payola Fund

Classic Arts News   New York State Music Institutions Receive $13 Million in Grants From Payola Fund
$13 million worth of grants from the fund created by the payola settlement reached between major record labels and the New York state attorney general's office was awarded yesterday to nonprofit music institutions in the state. The monies are intended to support programs covering hip-hop, contemporary classical music, jazz and folk music.

Grants ranged from $15,000 to $750,000, according to the website of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, which is distributing the funds. The 153 recipients come from every part of the state. The awards come with a remit to broaden access to contemporary music of all genres.

The two biggest single grants, of $750,000 each, went to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, to support the Next Wave Festival, and Carnegie Hall, to commission and present new works. An award of $230,000 was made to the New York City Parks Foundation to expand free concerts in low-income neighborhoods in all five boroughs; the 92nd Street Y was given $85,000 for education programs. The Metropolitan Opera received $150,000 for the world premiere of Tan Dun's opera The First Emperor.

Other recipients included Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation ($50,000), the American Composers Orchestra ($225,000), the Brooklyn Philharmonic ($100,000), the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center ($70,000) and the New York Philharmonic ($225,000).

Hip-hop, indie rock, fusion and reggae accounted for about 37 percent of grants; more than 13 percent went to jazz, while contemporary classical music received 30 percent.

The fund grew out of settlements with major recording companies investigated for violating state and federal laws prohibiting "pay for play" (also called "payola") on radio. New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced an agreement with EMI Music North America on June 15 to end its "pay-for-play" practices. His investigation found that EMI offered financial incentives and bribes such as concert tickets, hotel and airfare expenses to radio employees to increase the airplay of particular songs and boost chart ratings of its artists. The company also apparently relied on fraudulent call-in campaigns.

EMI Music North America paid $3.75 million; Universal Music Group Recordings Inc. paid $12 million to settle a similar payola case.

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