Mellencamp makes an interesting point about how the advent of airplay/chart sales monitoring like SoundScan changed the game of how songs became popular (i.e. singles didn't break out from smaller markets into wider popularity, but were "forced on" the public by the record companies).
But there's no mention of the kinds of payola that used to exist (and likely still does). And to keep his argument from getting too complex, Mellencamp quickly slides past the issue of turning current music as commercial jingles (i.e. his sale of the song "My Country" to Chevrolet)--an action which, in Mellencamp's case, seems to have gestated from a desire to find an alternate way of securing the massive airplay he received during his 82-87 heyday.