Rapper Diddy revealed he pays Sting $5,000 every day for sampling the Police classic “Every Breath You Take” on his 1997 track “I’ll Be Missing You.”
In 2014 it was confirmed that the performer, previously known as Puff Daddy, was handing over $2,000 daily after he asked permission to use the sample only after his song was released.
As a result, Sting was entitled to all royalties from the Grammy-winning single, instead of a percentage, which now totals over $1.8 million per year.
When a fan tweeted part of an interview from the past that quoted the figure, Diddy responded, “Nope. 5K a day. Love to my brother @OfficialSting!”
In 2003, Sting discussed how he made $730,000 a year from the sample, telling Rolling Stone that “those guys just take your shit, put it on a record and deal with the legality later. Elton John told me, ‘You gotta hear it … you’re gonna be a millionaire!’ I said, ‘I am a millionaire!’ He said, ‘You’re gonna be a millionaire twice over!’ I put a couple of my kids through college with the proceeds, and me and Diddy are good pals still.”
Listen to Puff Daddy’s ‘I’ll Be Missing You’
One member of the Police was less happy about the settlement – guitarist Andy Summers is the only member whose performance is heard on Diddy’s version, but he was never credited as one of the song’s writers. In 2014 he described the situation as “the major rip-off of all time,” noting that Diddy “actually sampled my guitar, and that’s what he based his whole track on. [Drummer] Stewart [Copeland]’s not on it. Sting’s not on it. I’d be walking around Tower Records, and the fucking thing would be playing over and over. It was very bizarre while it lasted.”
Legends Who Never Had a No. 1 Single
It’s all the more surprising when you consider the success so many of them had by any other measure.