At the start of the year, Atlantic Records came under fire for allegedly calling albums 'mixtapes' to avoid paying producers. Metro Boomin and E. Dan made it clear at the time that labels, Atlantic in particular, just weren't paying producers properly for their work. "They basically just want to slave you and steal your music to make hits," Metro tweeted at the time. Sonny Digital also chimed in, explaining, "Shit cash money was dropping actual albums and wasn't even paying the producers."
Hypebeast spoke to a number of producers impacted by labels failing to compensate them, and Statik Selektah had some interesting thoughts on the whole situation. When asked if labels have been purposely looking for ways to not pay producers, he responded, "I just think they do everything they can to not spend money because they don't want to lose money on everything. It’s not a personal thing where it’s ‘let’s screw over this producer.’ If you’re doing your business correctly, you don’t have to worry about that. I think the issues going on right now is all these new cats come into the game and they don’t know what they are doing and they are being taken advantage of."
Statik also shared advice on how up-and-coming producers can avoid being taken advantage of. "You got to have the right lawyer and good management," he said. "I went years and years without management and even a good lawyer; I used to handle contracts on my own and it was definitely corners that they would cut. It wouldn’t have happened if I had a good lawyer behind me."
Sonny Digital, meanwhile, thought the situation was a little overblown, although he agreed with Statik's comments. "This ain't nothing new. I understand it though, I understand the game. Not saying that's right though. They are a major company and not trying to lose money."
Statik didn't seem all that sure about a possible producer union, while Sonny Digital said, "It's not going to happen anytime soon[...] But it's possible though."
Hopefully something can be sorted so other producers don't fall into the same traps in the future, and a union would definitely be a good start. Read the whole piece over on Hypebeast.