Sony BMG just agreed to pay 10 very large (that's 10 million US dollars to you non-mob connected readers out there), as a result of New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer's investigation of payola to radio stations. Yup, a practice that started back in the 50's is still a "major problem throughout the music industry."
So yes, the reason you hear all the same crappy songs on the radio is that Sony was bribing DJ's and Programming Directors to get that shit on the air.
How bad was it? Well, look at it this way, if Sony BMG voluntarily agreed to a 10 mil fine, it's gotta be smoking gun documents bad. They skipped the trial (the same process that let Michael and OJ off) because they were caught red handed. The investigation to continues against Universal, EMI and Warner.
It's hard to believe that such fine artists as Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Usher, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys and Kelly Clarkson aren't being aired "based on the quality, artistic competition, or aesthetic judgments." I'm shocked, shocked to find there's gambling in Casablanca.
Sony spokesman John McKay condemned the practice as "wrong and improper" and said, "We're very, very sorry....that we got caught."
Okay, I made that last one up. You got me, Elliot. You're a regular Thomas Dewey and we know how well that turned out. Your future is still ahead of you.