The comparison between video promotion and "payola" is bogus. Payola saw record companies paying DJs to play their artists' music, a direct quid pro quo. Video promotion is basically just another form of advertising, designed to get more people to view a particular video, which may or may not result in them actually engaging with the artist and buying their music. The only reason people see this as gaming youtube is because they believe in the myth of organic popularity. Nearly every piece of pop culture that actually "breaks through" has been heavily marketed in some form or another, with the huge advantage going to corporations who can afford to pay each other to get their product out. That said, an artist considering promoting their videos to get more views on youtube should be aware that that's all they will probably get -- more views on youtube. That's not nothing, but it's certainly not a magic bullet to success.