May 14, 2006

ATTAC Report This Week

Mind Control in Your Music

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A growing federal investigation is revealing secret payoffs that manipulate the music you listen to and buy. The “Top 40” list may be more mind control than reality.

Hello. I’m your host, Boruch Ellison, and this is “ATTAC Report This Week” for May 14th, 2006.

If you’ve been wondering what’s behind the apparently rising popularity of rap or hip-hop, the gangster-culture music that features more pulsating beats than melodies, you’re not alone. Many people find themselves tempted to turn off the radio rather than be forced to listen to music they can’t stand.

But now federal authorities are discovering a hidden factor that’s been manipulating the “Top 40” charts: For years, record companies have been bribing radio stations to change which songs they play, and therefore which ones are listed as being most popular.

What makes Madonna or Celine Dion popular? Why do the Rolling Stones or U2 receive so much attention? It may have less to do with the quality of their music than the peer-pressure effect. Simply put, most people listen to and buy the same albums as their friends. An album that seems more popular or gets more public exposure will be purchased instead a different one of higher quality. As the herd effect takes over, the typical consumer actually starts to believe he prefers the one he bought, and before long a cultural illusion rules in people’s minds.

That herd effect can be manipulated by the music industry. An investigation last year by the New York Attorney General’s office discovered that record companies have been determining which songs and albums you’ll think you like. In what’s known as the “payola” scandal, radio station managers and disc jockeys have for many years been receiving concert tickets, laptop computers, large-screen plasma televisions, travel packages, and even opportunities to socialize with musical stars such as Celine Dion. But those gifts weren’t free; in exchange, the radio stations had to play selected songs on the air more often than listeners actually wanted, and even to play them during prime time.

Record companies and promoters have other techniques for creating artificial “hits.” Phony callers are paid to call stations over and over again, requesting songs that otherwise wouldn’t be popular. Paid advertising is also used to inflate the ratings of certain songs.

“Payola” bribery goes back to the beginning of radio in the 1930s and has often involved payoffs with money, drugs, or prostitutes. The problem grew so large that by 1960 Congress passed a law against “payola.” But the New York Attorney General now says nothing has changed. In his own words, “It is omnipresent. It is driving the industry. And it is wrong. It reaches to the very top of the industry on the radio side and on the label side.”

His investigation found systematic bribery of radio not just in small companies, but at the very top corporations, including Sony BMG and its popular labels, such as Epic Records, Columbia Records, and Sony Urban, as well as its competitors — Universal Music, EMI, and Warner Music.

That manipulation of popular music isn’t done for money so much as for a pro-Communist political agenda. FBI Directer J. Edgar Hoover testified in 1961 that the underground Communist Party, which takes orders from the Soviet Union, had widely infiltrated radio, television, and other industries for the purpose of mind-control and cultural warfare. The music industry, under this subversive influence, has artificially promoted such musicians as Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, both members of the Communist Party, as well as the Beatles, who were admittedly Marxist, and the Rolling Stones, whose lead singer, Mick Jagger, was a trained agent of the Fabian Socialist movement.

The industry continues to use “payola” to build the careers of musicians who promote leftist politics, immorality, drugs, and gangs. Even the most “moderate” singers promote a selfish, “me-first,” pleasure-obsessed mentality.

The next time you purchase an album, you may want to reconsider whether it’s truly your choice — or a dangerous illusion.

Thank you for listening. From all of us at ATTAC Report, good-bye.

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