[ pey-oh-luh ]
/ peɪˈoʊ lə /

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.

Origin of payola

An Americanism dating back to 1935–40; pay1 + -ola Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for payola

/ (peɪˈəʊlə) /

noun informal, mainly US

a bribe given to secure special treatment, esp to a disc jockey to promote a commercial product
the practice of paying or receiving such bribes

Word Origin for payola

C20: from pay 1 + -ola, as in Pianola
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012