A story by DJ Booth blew the lid off an alleged scheme by Atlantic Records to underpay producers by labeling mixtapes as albums. However, one of the producers named in the piece has come forth to clarify his involvement, stating that he was made aware of the payment arrangement despite getting paid half of what he would normally yield.
E. Dan, Wiz Khalifa‘s main producer and part of the ID Labs squad, was a central portion of DJ Booth’s story that ran earlier this week. The outlet took notice of an interview E. Dan held with DJ Pain 1 of Beat Stars where he essentially took aim at Atlantic for the tactic. The DJ Booth story gained a lot of traction online, with Dan insulating that this was a common practice by major labels.
With the heat perhaps growing a bit, E. Dan penned a letter to the editor trying to reshape the narrative that he first revealed to the masses.
From DJ Booth:
I was happy to get paid what I did for the project. 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.
In this case, I was happy that some of the older songs we’d done with Wiz were now going to be released, albeit in a format/structure that meant I wasn’t going to get my usual rate. So I agreed to play my part in the project at the lesser rate well before it was released and cashed the check with a smile on my face.
There are much bigger issues concerning producers and engineers in this business and ultimately this was a unique situation involving a particular project. I have absolutely no reason to believe it’s a common practice by Atlantic or anyone else. [Editor’s Note: Since we ran the original story on Tuesday, January 2, multiple producers have come forward with stories of similar experiences with all three major labels.]
It isn’t immediately known if Atlantic has responded to the allegations or addressed the chatter from other producers who claim the tactic is valid.
Photo: Atlantic Records