Producers call out Atlantic Records and other labels for not paying

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Several producers are saying labels use ambiguous categorization of projects to avoid full payment.

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Andre G | January 3, 2018

In recent years, the line between albums and mixtapes has been blurred in hip-hop. With artists like Chance The Rapper releasing Grammy-winning mixtapes, the format has evolved from the perception of a lower-regarded appetizer to studio albums into work that stands right along with albums on year-end lists. That predicament has become a major boon for independent artists and producers looking to make their name beyond traditional studio albums.

Unfortunately, it seems like labels such as Atlantic Records have been taking advantage of those ambiguous classifications by using it as a means to stiff producers. During a recent interview with production website Beat Stars, producer E. Dan of production team ID Labs divulged the major label practice of calling projects released under their banners mixtapes and “street albums” as a means to get out of properly paying producers for their work.

E. Dan said that over the past few years, he’s seen Atlantic projects be called “compilation albums” and other terms, which ended up costing producers “half” of their normal prices. E. Dan referenced Wiz Khalifa’s Khalifa, which was deemed a “compilation album” and Snow Tha Product’s Good Nights & Bad Mornings 2: The Hangover project, which was called a mixtape and caused Atlantic to “not pay me a whole lot.”

J.U.S.TI.C.E. League responded to DJ Booth‘s original story, noting “all labels do it (to) black music. It’s all about the bottom line.“

Outspoken producer Sonny Digital followed up and noted that “all” labels are doing the same thing. “Cash money was dropping actual albums and wasn’t even paying the producers. You can’t just single out one party when all other parties doing the same,” he tweeted. Maybe producers would be best served to heed Digital’s previous idea for a producer union.

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