Some big news in the publishing world - Sean Combs is in the middle of reassigning his publishing rights for part of his Bad Boy catalog. Representatives from the label declined to disclose the specific terms of the songwriter/producer deals, but sources familiar with the situation revealed that the process of contacting artists and writers began in May 2021. This occurred after Combs turned down various offers to sell his catalog. Most parties have been contacted and have already signed their offers, although there are still a few ongoing negotiations to resolve agreements with a select few. In the past, publishing for Bad Boy was administered by EMI, which is owned by Sony Music Publishing/Sony Corporation of America. It's worth noting that EMI continues to administer Combs' own publishing.
Combs' surprising move coincides with Bad Boy's 30th anniversary this year. It follows a public dispute that spanned several years between him and Bad Boy artist Ma$e. After Combs criticized the Recording Academy for not giving enough recognition to Black artists in R&B and rap during his acceptance speech for the organization's Industry Icon award at Clive Davis' pre-Grammy gala in 2020, Ma$e called him out for doing the same thing.
In a now-deleted Instagram post, Ma$e revealed that he offered Combs $2 million to buy back his publishing, which was declined. He further alleged, "Your past business practices knowingly have continued purposely to starve your artists and have been extremely unfair to the very same artists who helped you obtain that Icon Award on the iconic Bad Boy label. For example, you still have my publishing from 24 years ago, for which you gave me $20k. This makes me never want to work with you, as any artist wouldn't... This is not Black excellence at all."
During an interview with The Breakfast Club last year, Combs claimed that Ma$e owed him $3 million for an album advance that was never delivered.
Recently, Cam'ron shared on Instagram, "My ni--a Ma$e had to sit this one out. He just got his publishing back from Puff. Just finished the paperwork for that yesterday. Congrats @rsvpmase. While he's getting his music back in order, I'm dumping my hard drive pause. The lost files vol. 1. Sept 8."
Founded by Combs in 1993, Bad Boy achieved early success with gold, platinum, and multiplatinum albums and singles by artists like Craig Mack, the Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Ma$e, Total, 112, The LOX, and Diddy himself, among others. Over the years, the label's roster has also featured talents such as Carl Thomas, Shyne, Dream, Danity Kane, and French Montana. Additionally, it housed an in-house writer/producer collective.
This story is big news as steps are clearly being taken to make publishing a more artist-friendly space. The publishing sector of the biz has long been perceived as predatory and confusing, only accessible to those with the insider knowledge and/or connections. Here at Organic, we are happy to see steps being taken to get money back into the hands of its rightful owners. Songwriters deserve just as much credit and payment as performers do, so good on P. Diddy for doing the right thing.
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