ALBANY, N.Y., May 11 (UPI) -- The Universal Music Group will pay $12 million under a payola settlement announced Thursday by New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
In addition to the fine, the world's largest record label agreed to end "pay for play" practices with radio stations, Spitzer said in a news release.
"Pay-for-play makes a mockery of claims that only the 'best' or 'most popular' music is broadcast," Spitzer said in announcing the settlement.
Universal -- a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal that owns Island Def Jam, Interscope, Universal Motown Recordings Group, Uni-South, Universal Nashville and Verve -- made illegal deals with U.S. radio station personnel to play songs by Nick Lachey, Ashlee Simpson, Brian McKnight, Big Tymers and Lindsay Lohan, among others, Spitzer said.
The $12 million fine will go to New York's Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, which will distribute it among non-profit groups that fund music education and appreciation programs.
Sony BMG and Warner Music previously reached settlements as a result of Spitzer's ongoing payola investigation. A lawsuit is pending against Entercom Communications Corp.