Payola is the music industry equivalent of the Lori Loughlin college admissions scandal.

Iggy Azalea just dropped an icy rap bomb with “Sally Walker.” The song made the top 5 on iTunes’ Top Songs chart, the video was viewed nearly 30 million times, and it racked up 4.6 million + streams on Spotify. Iggy hoped the latter figure would be higher, and believes the streaming giant isn’t throwing their weight behind her new tune because of record label politics (Iggy is no longer affiliated with a label after going independent). It’s worth mentioning “Sally Walker” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 62. That’s her biggest track debut since 2016’s “Team.”

The song does exist on Spotify, but they didn’t add it to their ‘Today’s Top Hits’ playlist and was number 20-something on the New Music Friday playlist. Iggy accused Spotify of payola. Payola is an industry term for when a record label spends money to broadcast a song on radio or streaming platforms without telling the listener it’s essentially a paid advertisement. AKA an illegal bribe.

The most concerning aspect of payola is that the songs you’re hearing in mainstream are played on rotation not because there’s a demand for the track, but because there’s a lot of money spent on promotion for it. In other words, songs that people may genuinely want to hear won’t get played because it goes against a record label’s agenda to promote one of their artists. Iggy, who is no longer on a label, isn’t getting the same push as she did before because she’s independent, and that’s problematic.

Iggy crunched the numbers and wants answers as to why Spotify isn’t sharing the love. In now-deleted Tweets, Iggy says: “the data across the board shows sally walker was the biggest song dropped” on Friday.

“You won’t add it at number one on new music Friday‚Ķ it’s down in the 20s,” she continued. “Is that the data that made you do that or taste coughs industry politics coughs payola coughs

I’m with Iggy on this one, but I think it’s worth mentioning there are thousands of artists with legitimately great music who would love to be 20-something on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist, but won’t because they’re not rich and famous. A song’s impact and longevity isn’t solely influenced by advertising, so if “Sally Walker” is that jam, we should see some pretty stellar numbers in the coming weeks with or without Spotify.

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