[UPDATED] With the rise of streaming, the job of producer has declined to a much less lucrative position, as many producer deals are built around physical sales. Atlantic Records has found a way to cut into this limited revenue further, however, by retitling some albums as 'mixtapes' or 'compilation albums,' writes Bobby Owsinski.
Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0
Being a producer has gotten a lot less lucrative these days thanks to streaming. Most producer deals are built around physical sales, which as we all know, are becoming pretty much a thing a of past except in a very few cases. Sure you get paid on streaming mechanicals, but the revenue is a far cry from the heyday of vinyl and CDs. That said, most producers can still at least make some money after working on a project with a hit artist. Atlantic Records has devised a way to even take some of that away however.
Atlantic has been underpaying producers by retitling the albums as “mixtapes,” “street albums,” or “compilation albums,” according to frequent Wiz Khalifa producer E. Dan. The producer is part of the production group ID Labs, and lays it all out in a an interview with BeatStars.
After helping to produce Khalifa’s 2016 Khalifa, E. Dan alleges that the label paid less than the production team was expecting by calling it something other than a front-line release. He explained, “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.”
Finding a way to pay an artist or producer less than expected isn’t new, but labels do always seem to find a new creative way in how to do it. The only good thing is that attorneys for the artists and producers find a new way to counter the practice in future agreements, but in the meantime it means that someone will take it on the financial chin.