‘Sean “Diddy” Combs, the Black American rapper and producer, has made a surprising move by returning the publishing rights of Bad Boy Entertainment, the label he founded, to the artists and songwriters who helped build it.
At the peak of the record label’s valuation, Bad Boys Entertainment was worth over $100 million. Some of the artists who have already signed agreements to regain these rights include Ma$e, Faith Evans, the LOX, 112, and the Estate of the Notorious B.I.G, Variety News said.
While specific financial details are not immediately available, these rights are said to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Combs had received lucrative deals from various parties interested in acquiring the Bad Boy publishing catalogue, but instead, he chose to reassign these rights to the songwriters.
Most of the recipients have been located, contacted, and have signed the necessary paperwork, although not all have done so.
This move comes after years of public disputes, especially between Combs and Ma$e. In a now-deleted pots on Instagram, Variety reported that Ma$e had accused Combs of unfair financial practices, and in the past, he had offered $2 million to buy back his publishing rights, which was declined.
- “Your past business practices knowingly have continued to purposely starve your artist and been extremely unfair to the very same artist that helped you obtain that Icon Award on the iconic Badboy label. For example, you still have my publishing from 24 years ago in which you gave me $20k. This makes me never want to work w/ u as any artist wouldn’t … This is not Black excellence at all.”
Bad Boy Entertainment, founded by Combs in 1993, achieved great success with artists like Craig Mack, the Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Ma$e, Total, 112, The LOX, and Combs himself.
The label has been home to various artists and a writer/producer collective called The Hitmen.
During the 1990s it was not uncommon for labels or label owners to take a percentage of an artist’s publishing as part of a recorded music deal, although that syndrome has faded away as artists and songwriters become more aware of the value of their publishing rights.
The decision to return these rights is seen as part of Combs’ broader goal of promoting economic empowerment for Black artists and culture.