HITS Daily Double
Fines related to the settlement might exceed $10 million, according to several stories.


NY Attorney General and Sony BMG Said to Be Close to a Settlement in Payola Probe
In a dead heat, The N.Y. Times, the N.Y. Post, the L.A. Times and Reuters broke the news Saturday morning that Sony BMG is about to agree to a settlement with NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer regarding the latter’s payola investigation, perhaps as soon as Monday.

Wrote Jeff Leeds in The N.Y. Times: “The settlement is expected to establish a blueprint for agreements that Mr. Spitzer will probably seek with the other three major record companies, which have all received subpoenas… As part of the settlement, Sony BMG is expected to admit to misconduct in its radio promotion practices and agree to changes that would limit attempts to influence airplay, according to people involved in the discussion. For instance, the company is expected to end its use of independent promoters.”

In the L.A. Times, Charles Duhigg and Walter Hamilton reported that fines related to the settlement “might exceed $10 million,” citing sources. That was the same number cited by Tim Arango in the N.Y. Post and an unsigned Reuters story (Leeds went with “multimillion”), suggesting this “source” was making the rounds yesterday, checklist in hand. “Insiders at other record companies said they expected that a Sony BMG settlement would spur other music corporations to agree to similar deals with Spitzer's office,” the story theorized. “Those executives said whatever fine Sony BMG might accept probably would also set the standard for other companies, which would be fined in proportion to each company's share of the U.S. market.”