Green’s Dictionary of Slang

payola n.

[SE pay + -ola sfx; esp. common in the record business where disc jockeys are offered massive inducements to push a certain record or artist. Major scandals in the US c.1959 supposedly ended payola, but some believe that the practice persists]

1. [1930s+] (orig. US) the practice (ostensibly illegal and generally denied by its practitioners) of bribing (with cash or kind) those with access to the public to tout a product.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.