E. Dan
via BeatStars

Music seems easy these days, especially for producers. Just make a hit and get paid. WRONG! A number of producers are calling out out major record labels for labeling a full-length project as a “mixtape” to avoid paying them a full rate.

E. Dan — one of three producers from Pittsburgh-based production team ID Labs — recently expressed his frustration with the practice.

According to Dan, Atlantic Records (for example) will call an LP like Wiz Khalifa’s Khalifa project a “street album,” “commercial mixtape” or “compilation album” to avoid paying producers like himself.

“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 explained in an interview with BeatStars.

This isn’t the first time E. Dan has experienced this. Back in 2013, when Atlantic Records signee Snow Tha Product dropped Good Nights & Bad Mornings 2: The Hangover for free, he wasn’t paid… very much.

“They called it a mixtape,” he said at the time. “They didn’t treat it like it was an album, which is just their way of not paying me a whole lot.”

A number of other producers have come forward with similar frustrations, including Rook from J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, Benny Cassette, DJ Burn One, Marvel Alexander and Sonny Digital.

DJ Burn One claimed that RCA Records used this tactic with A$AP Rocky’s Live. Love. A$AP mixtape.

Sonny Digital had this to say about it. “If you gonna call out Atlantic then you might as well call out all the labels because they all doing the same thing,” he said. “Sh*t cash money was dropping actual albums and wasn’t even paying the producers. You can’t just single out one party when all other parties doing the same.”

Back in October, Metro Boomin called out APG (Artist Publishing Group), a division of Atlantic Records, saying they use shady tactics and urged producers to stay away from them.