Came across this story about DJ Mustard allegedly taking this guy Mike Free’s beats and not crediting him properly. Again we want to stress ‘allegedly’ as nothing has been ruled yet but this shit happens ALL THE TIME in the music business. It’s one reason we refuse to work under another producer’s name, we’ve actually turned down a few offers. There is one exception, when we’ve collaborated with Full Force, but those guys are family and the deal is upfront and clear for everyone.
Here’s what happens. Top tier Producers can’t keep up with the workload. They want to take their huge fees from the labels but it’s impossible to realistically do more than a few songs a week (we’re talking finished songs). What these guys will do is have people make tracks (instrumentals) or sometimes full songs for them and then put their twist on it and produce it under their name. Usually they will pay a set fee to those producers (usually in the $3000-$5000 range) if the song gets placed and take the rest for themselves. This actually works to both parties’ advantage as the big name producer gets to put out more work and make more money while the unknown beat maker gets songs released that would otherwise have been ignored by the labels were it not for the big name being attached. Check the credits of the music in the Top 40 and you’ll find countless songs where the big name producer has a collaborator or co producer. This usually means the collaborator did most of the creative side and the big name came in and essentially did some quality control, put their flavor on it and got it out the door. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this, but it can stifle the progression of some producers. The big name may not want to let their ‘underling’ go under their own name or brand because it means less money and work for them and the lesser known producer may feel they need the big name attached to get recognized- and the cycle continues.
The trouble comes when those beat makers aren’t looked after properly because the big name producer gets greedy or his management don’t handle the finances appropriately. Sometimes it’s just a misunderstanding, but usually if it gets to court it means the producer who feels hard done by has already tried to get what they deserve to no avail.
Just something to think about when you listen to music produced by the big names. Check the credits and decipher what it really means.