Producers say record labels are calling projects “mixtapes” to avoid paying them fairly

Wiz Khalifa producer E. Dan, Sonny Digital, DJ Burn One, and more took to Twitter to share their experiences.

January 03, 2018

The rise of streaming in recent years has blurred the lines between what is la mixtapes, albums, and full-length releases that are simply called projects. According to a number of producers, major labels are using these delineations to avoid paying producers their normal rates.

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In a recent interview with BeatStars, Wiz Khalifa producer E. Dan said Atlantic Records didn't compensate him fairly for his six production credits on the Pittsburgh rapper's 2016 "compilation album" Khalifa. "They came up with some really clever name that essentially meant, "Everyone involved, you're going to get paid half what you normally do,'" he told DJ Pain 1. "I've seen it happen often over the last few years." E. Dan added that Atlantic did the same thing in 2013 when Atlantic released Snow Tha Product's Good Nights & Bad Mornings 2: The Hangover for free.

As DJ Booth points out, other producers have responded to E. Dan's interview with their own experiences. On Twitter, DJ Burn One wrote that RCA employed similar tactics with A$AP Rocky's Live. Love. A$AP mixtape.

Sonny Digital wrote: "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." Last June, Sonny Digital said that he wanted to start a union for producers.

In October, Metro Boomin wrote on Twitter, “PSA to producers everywhere, don't let @AtlanticRecords steal your soul." He added, "It is just so demeaning to take advantage of hungry artists/producers/writers who put their whole life into their music just 4 u to rob them."

Producers say record labels are calling projects “mixtapes” to avoid paying them fairly