Atlantic Records is currently being singled out after producer E. Dan of ID Labs accused the record label of underpaying producers by renaming albums as “mixtapes,” “street albums,” or “compilation albums” in a recent interview with BeatStars with DJ Pain 1.
.@WizKhalifa's producer E. Dan (@IdlabsMusic) explains how record labels avoid paying producers + how Wiz' loyalty got him beat placements ?
Exclusive interview with @DJPain1 + @BeatStars ?? pic.twitter.com/qAgm430dE5
— BeatStars (@BeatStars) January 2, 2018
E. Dan, who is a common producer for Wiz Khalifa, noticed the act after he finished Khalifa’s 2016 self-titled project, Khalifa. He claims Atlantic supposedly cheated the producers into accepting a compensation that was less than their own standard rate and cannot recall exactly what the Khalifa project was titled. The producer is convinced the label’s apparent failure to pay the standard rate is their way of cutting costs.
“The Khalifa album, I don’t know what they called it, a ‘street album?’ They came up with some really clever name that essentially meant, everyone involved, you’re going to get paid half what you normally do. I’ve seen it happen often over the last few years. Anything to save a buck for these labels,” says E. Dan
Once the BeatStars interview surfaced, fellow producers Sonny Digital and Tampa, Florida composer collective J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League took to Twitter to extend the dialogue triggered by E. Dan, basically saying this is not only an Atlantic Records issue but a matter all record labels are guilty of, as well. J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League expressed their flout towards Black executives, holding them accountable for allowing the small-time pay scheme to take place.
If you gonna call out Atlantic then you might as well call out all the labels because they all doing the same thing. Shit cash money was dropping actual albums and wasnt even paying the producers. You can’t just single out one party when all other parties doing the same. https://t.co/YaKPQfOgrn
— Sonny (@SonnyDigital) January 3, 2018
EXACTLY, you cant single out Atlantic. Like I said, ALL labels do it to black music. One of the loopholes/tricks is putting out a mixtape through an independent distributor (which in reality is a sub label of a major) then those songs won't count towards MDRC in publishing deals https://t.co/eSimBVZmPM
— J.U.S.T.I.C.E LEAGUE (@JusticeLeague) January 4, 2018
Not only did fellow producers hop into the conversation, but DJ Booth decided to chime in by publishing an article about the Atlantic Records tactic, referring to E. Dan’s revelation, which supports his point. The Khalifa producer wrote a letter to the pub, in response to his reference, providing more insight on his allegation.
“I was happy to get paid what I did for the project,” he recalled. “While not ideal, half of my usual rate for working on a Wiz Khalifa album is still a much better rate than I would get from a developing or indie artist’s album. I knew what I was getting into before it was put together and was literally given the choice to take less because that’s what the budget allowed or I could personally shut the project down if I was unhappy about the compensation because frankly, this was an album of mostly B-sides that no one was sure they wanted to release anyway.”
Another reality that comes to light out of this, is that the journey of the producer is one that is certainly, unsung. Right next to the artist, is the aggressive “hustle” of the producer who spends most of their time refining the quality of their craft for the sake of not only curating an in-demand sound but to up their worth and gain a clientele rack of value.