Wiz Khalifa Producer Accuses Atlantic Records of Labeling Albums "Mixtapes" to Underpay Collaborators [Updated]

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Update (1.3, 5:44 p.m.): E. Dan has shared a statement with TrackRecord, claiming that his original comments were taken out of context and that he harbors no ill will toward Atlantic or any other label:

Ppl need to stop whining about labels. They aren’t the problem. BeatStars and DJ Booth made an agenda out of one or two sentences I spoke in passing during a 40 min interview.

The internet is full of ppl that point the finger at big labels because they can’t get on or fans that don’t understand the industry and want to stick up for artists/creators they admire. On the surface, any art vs commerce scenario will seem fucked and shady things happen in this as in any other biz but we are all willing participants.

Every project is different and low budget projects aren’t a new thing. You always have a choice to be involved or not and if you don’t think the compensation is fair, you shouldn’t be involved in the project.


Original Story (1.3, 5:08 p.m.): You might want to sit down for this one—it seems as though some major labels may not have the best interests of artists and producers at heart. Yesterday, Wiz Khalifa producer E. Dan sat down with DJ Pain of BeatStars, a marketplace for producers to sell and distribute beats, and alleged that Atlantic Records has dubbed some of Khalifa’s projects as “mixtapes” or “street albums” instead of albums, proper, to avoid paying him and other collaborators their normal rate.

“They didn’t treat it like it was an album, which was just their way of not paying me a whole lot,” Dan said. “That’s happened with Wiz albums, the Khalifa album — I don’t know if they called it a street album, they came up with some really clever name that essentially meant everyone involved, you’re gonna get paid half of what you normally do.”

Following his interview, a handful of producers spoke out on Twitter, claiming this isn’t a problem contained to Khalifa or Atlantic Records. It’s been a debate for years, the handwringing that goes on over major label releases that are presented as albums, mixtapes, and “playlists”—usually, on that level, they’re all just albums. But for the players behind the scenes, it sounds like the distinction can make a world of difference in payouts.


We’ve reached out to Atlantic Records and E. Dan for comment, and will update this post if we hear back.

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