State Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Culver City) said Wednesday that he was reviewing allegations that record company EMI Group has tried to manipulate the music industry's sales charts.
Murray said he was studying whether EMI pressured a Los Angeles-based rap music label to hire an independent consultant to inflate its performance by falsifying record sales. The lawmaker heads the Senate's committee on the entertainment industry and has held hearings to examine record company accounting practices.
In an interview, Murray said that EMI executives had denied the claims, which emerged in a legal dispute between the British music company and the label it formerly distributed, Avatar Records.
But he said he was examining the EMI statements to his staff and has not reached any conclusions on how to proceed.
The notion that companies would seek to distort sales data "raises some interesting questions about record company accounting practices," he said.
Avatar has taken the deposition of a former EMI executive who acknowledged the practice.
But a spokeswoman for the music giant said "EMI does not engage in any of these alleged practices. This is a red herring attempt by Avatar to divert" from the label's debts to EMI.
EMI sued Avatar for breach of contract last year. The suit is pending.
Nielsen Soundscan, the firm that compiles record sales information, said it has "thwarted" any attempts to manipulate its data.