And Finally Artist News

Diddy says he was joking about paying Sting $5k a day

By | Published on Tuesday 11 April 2023


Diddy would like you all to know that when he tweeted last week that he now pays Sting five grand a day because of the sample in his 1993 track ‘I’ll Be Missing You’, that was just a silly joke. How the fuck should he know how much the publishing is now worth on his 30 year old record?

This all relates to one of the music industry’s most famous ‘don’t forget to clear your samples in advance’ stories.

Diddy’s hit prominently sampled Police track ‘Every Breath You Take’ and also interpolated the vocal melody from the earlier song. With none of that cleared ahead of release, Sting – as the writer of ‘Every Breath You Take’ – ended up with a 100% of the copyright in Diddy’s song too.

This all became a talking point again last week after the website Black Millionaires dredged up a 2018 interview with Sting in which he was asked to confirm reports from 2014 that Diddy was basically paying him $2000 a day as a result of the copyright settlement around ‘I’ll Be Missing You’.

In said interview, Sting seemed to confirm that report, adding that Diddy will be handing over said money “for the rest of his life”, before then insisting that he is nevertheless good friends with his fellow musician.

It was in response to the Black Millionaires post that Diddy last week clarified in a tweet that he was now paying Sting “5k a day”.

Both that remark, and the 2018 interview, implied that Diddy was actually sending Sting daily cheques, which obviously isn’t the case. It’s just that whenever ‘I’ll Be Missing You’ is played, the song royalties that are due are collected by Sting and his publisher Universal.

But maybe Diddy has insider knowledge on how much that nets Sting and Universal? And maybe with the streaming boom the song royalties generated by ‘I’ll Be Missing You’ are now topping five grand a day. But can that possibly be true? I don’t know. And neither does Diddy.

“I want y’all to understand I was joking!”, he tweeted on Friday, clarifying his earlier remark. “It’s called being facetious! Me and Sting have been friends for a long time! He never charged me $3K or $5K a day for ‘Missing You'”.

Though, Diddy then mused, “he probably makes more than $5K a day from one of the biggest songs in history”.

Which might be true if – by “he” – Diddy means Universal, which did one of those big rights acquisition deals with Sting last year.

And if – by “one of the biggest songs in history” – he means ‘Every Breath You Take’, which remains super popular to this day. Mainly because many people believe that what is basically a song about stalking and obsession is a much more innocent and romantic love song.

Indeed, it seems that “$2k a day” claim mentioned in the 2018 interview originates in a statement made by Sting’s manager regarding how much ‘Every Breath You Take’ generates in royalties in total. Which might also include the monies from ‘I’ll Be Missing You’, but is mainly the cash generated by the streaming and broadcast of the Police classic.

So there you go. Diddy was joking. We don’t really know how much ‘I’ll Be Missing You’ generates in song royalties each day. And please everyone remember to clear your samples before release.