CMJ Admits to Fudging Playlists

College Media Journal (CMJ) has admitted to forging some of its charts, reports the New York Post. The magazine monitors airplay on college radio stations across the nation and provides the music industry with key data on what college kids are listening to by publishing station playlists.. Over the last several months, college radio station programmers have noticed that the weekly playlists that they pay CMJ to publish have often been inaccurate, according to sources. A subscription is $345 per year.

"In many cases, CMJ dropped albums that radio stations reported having played, and inserted its own "Certain Damage" compilation – an album that major music labels pay $3,000 per track for CMJ to produce and give away," reports the Post.

CMJ publisher Robert Haber said in a statement that the publication inserted its compilation record only when it could not verify the existence of an album reported by a radio station. He said the choice was to either halt publishing a playlist altogether or insert a "placeholder."

"As to the allegations that there was some sinister motive behind this utilizing 'Certain Damage' as a placeholder let me say – and I cannot be any more emphatic about this- that was not done to promote, or benefit in any way, 'Certain Damage,' " said Haber.

Haber said that CMJ will halt the practice immediately. "Please know that CMJ is only interested in having our radio airplay charts be 100 percent accurate, every single week," he wrote.


CMJ has lost credibility within the music community and especially among the 1,200 North American radio stations that pay to publish its charts. "I assumed a lot of interns were making mistakes," said Brian Turner, programming director at WFMU in Jersey City. Sources also told the Post that CMJ will probably lose some advertising.

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