noun Informal.
a secret or private payment in return for the promotion of a product, service, etc., through the abuse of one's position, influence, or facilities.

1935–40, Americanism; pay1 + -ola Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
payola (peɪˈəʊlə)
1.  a bribe given to secure special treatment, esp to a disc jockey to promote a commercial product
2.  the practice of paying or receiving such bribes
[C20: from pay1 + -ola, as in Pianola]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"graft" (especially to disc jockeys from record companies to play their music), 1938 [in a "Variety" headline, "Plug payolas perplexed"], from pay off "bribery" (underworld slang from 1930) + ending from Victrola, etc. (see pianola).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
They say that they don't influence sales, that there's no payola, that there's no influence on content.
Maybe this deserves a closer look for payola than it got back then.
Oh, yes there were periodic payola hearings which were quite lame efforts at reforming the medium.
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