What if the artists you have been listening to for a long time because they were on charts are not exactly on charts? Rolling Stone magazine has just revealed some shocking news about the cheating of famous artists so they can appear on charts at high rankings. Some names are just so big!

According to Rolling Stone, a bunch of well-known celebrities and big record labels were called out as payola on radios in order to manipulate Billboard Hot 100.


Payola, in the music industry, is the illegal practice of payment to commercial radio in which the song is presented as being part of the normal day’s broadcast, without announcing that there has been consideration paid in cash or in-kind for its airplay adjacent to the recording’s broadcast. (according to Wiki)

This method is a censurable way and boycotted by the music world industry as well as wise fans from all around the world because Payola denies the genuine talent of artists and their music, giving the rich the opportunities to use money as a cover for the true values of art.


Some of the names were pointed out: Shawn Mendes, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Marshmello, Halsey, Panic at the Disco, 5 SOS, Sia, LSD,… and a lot of others have taken advantage by payola with big companies.

Updated: this list also have included Khalid, Jonas Brothers as well!


Back in June, 2019, vice president in charge of advertising of Elektra Record sent an emergency article to Steve Zap – an independent broadcaster. They are known as acquaintances for a long time in the industry. The two often text with each other periodically about big labels’ activities.

According to Rolling Stone, they have collected over 2.500 texts related that Zap was involved in debate with record labels to cheat on streaming views. And Zap will charge those views if the artists want to payola.

Some of the leaked conversations like: “This week has Panic and Ed Sheeran, let’s make Shawn Mendes “If I can’t have you” no.1″; “Last week Ed Sheeran “I don’t care” was No.1 and If I can’t have you no.3″; “Take Marshmellow on no.1”, “Reduce the stream views of Jonas Brothers and help P!nk!”


These are just some of the scandalous texts that Rolling Stone published on the magazine. The record labels involving in this were Sony Music, Universal Music, Columbia Record,…

This scandal is considered the biggest fraud with huge effects on all of the names involved in and of course, fans do not accept these kinds of things due to the lack of true value that real artists and music makers try to deliver. Songs who were well-produced and deserve higher ranks have to be under other songs because of the money’s control.