Prominent Music Industry Trade Magazine Reportedly Offered A Talent Agency Favorable Press In Exchange For $150K A Year

Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Prominent music industry trade publication Hits magazine has reportedly offered a talent agency favorable press in exchange for $150k a year.


Load Error

Puck reporter and founding partner

Matthew Belloni obtained a proposed contract sent by Hits to a major Hollywood talent agency, in which the magazine offered a list of press benefits in exchange for $12,500 per month.

“Having worked at a trade for more than a decade, I know better than most how it works when the subjects of the articles are also the advertisers/subscribers. Back-scratching and sponsored content are common. Music is particularly incestuous, with a history of payola going back decades,” wrote Belloni, adding, “But I’ve never seen anything as explicitly quid pro quo as this proposed contract that was sent by a Hits ‘research editor’ in August to a major talent agency.”

As listed in the proposed deal, which the unnamed agency purportedly refused to sign, the benefits included:

  • One multi-page interview with a major [agency] executive, including team photos
  • Inclusion of key [agency] personnel in overall editorial, including online and print news items and analysis and special-issue content such as industry roundtables
  • Mentions of [agency] principals in HITS List, where appropriate and guided by [agency] priorities
  • Opportunities for inclusion of [agency] clients in our yearly Grammy coverage, which begins early in the cycle with wide-ranging consideration of worthy contenders and strongly influences the conversation regarding nominations and awards
  • Representation in our Rainmakers profiles of industry figures
  • Consideration of [agency] clients for inclusion in Vibe Raters rundown of breaking acts and opportunity for inclusion of [agency] data throughout the section
  • Inclusion of [agency] clients and data in our periodic New & Developing Artists specials (2 per issue)
  • News coverage of casting, branding and other opportunities/developments pertinent to key [agency] music clients
  • Inclusion of [agency] clients, personnel and/or announcements in targeted sections of the HITS Daily Double website, including Music City (Nashville), Blighty Beat (U.K.) and Pub Crawling (publishing)
  • Inclusion of [agency] personnel in our Noisemakers section, where appropriate

Belloni went on to report that this type of proposal is common for Hits, which he previously labeled a pay-for-play publication, explaining that “it extracts financial deals with companies to guarantee certain coverage in exchange for money.”

The reporter additionally reached out to Hits co-founder and publisher

Dennis Lavinthal to ask how long he has been proposing similar deals, yet Lavinthal did not respond to the questions sent via email.

“In the old, pre-internet days, trades were cozier with their subjects, and scrutiny was light,” Belloni added. “But social media has made everything more transparent, and media outlets are now held much more accountable for their practices, as Ozy and The Wrap recently found out.”

Source :

Prominent Music Industry Trade Magazine Reportedly Offered a Talent Agency Favorable Press in Exchange for $150K a Year

Source:Mediaite on

Prominent Music Industry Trade Magazine Reportedly Offered a Talent Agency Favorable Press in Exchange for $150K a Year