Hip-Hop

Atlantic Records Accused of Underpaying Producers by Retitling Albums as 'Mixtapes'

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Courtesy of Atlantic Records

"I've seen it happen often over the last few years. Anything to save a buck for these labels," said E. Dan, one third of the production trio ID Labs.

On Tuesday, Atlantic Records came under fire after frequent Wiz Khalifa producer E. Dan -- who makes up a third of the production trio ID Labs -- claimed in an interview with BeatStars that the label underpays producers by retitling rappers' albums as “mixtapes,” “street albums,” or “compilation albums.”

After providing a helping hand on Khalifa's 2016 project Khalifa, E. Dan explained how the label allegedly duped the producers into being paid less than what they were accustomed to receiving. "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," he said. 

E. Dan's interview sparked conversations on Twitter with Sonny Digital and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League voicing their opinions regarding the matter. "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," tweeted Digital. 

J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League aimed their disdain towards "black executives," whom they deemed responsible for the actions taking place. "Been said this, but all labels do it black music. It's all about the bottom line. What angers me is the black executives that let it happen."

On Wednesday, E. Dan wrote a response letter to DJ Booth after they published a story based on the allegations he made against the label. The producer clarified his comments from his previous interview with BeatStars and acknowledged his "choice to take less" while working on Khalifa

"I was happy to get paid what I did for the project," he wrote. "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."

Billboard reached out to Atlantic Records and they declined to comment regarding the story. Watch E. Dan's interview below.