Timbaland says he was paid around $500,000 to produce a track in his prime, but young producers today don’t “put value” on themselves.
During an interview with ProducerGrind, Timbaland says he was earning as much as $500,000 per beat at the peak of his career — when he produced hip-hop and R&B hits for Aaliyah, Ginuwine, Jay-Z, Ludacris, and Missy Elliott.
“I usually get like $300K, $500K back in the day,” the producer says. “We ain’t come from a world where you send beats; we come from when that bitch was tailor-made, you understand? The producer was respected way more. You needed a dope producer as an artist. You needed that, and now you got YouTube. People putting beats; it’s just not the same. It’s just like Wild Wild West out there.”
He expressed concern about the future of production, and that incoming AI technology was gaining a significant foothold in hip-hop.
“I knew this guy, one of my homeboys. He was working on this whole program that while the computer’s asleep, it’s generating sounds,” he explained. “When he opens it up, it takes white noise and makes kicks, the dopest snares while he sleeps. He’s been working on this for years, and I’m sure he’s mastered it now. The computer makes his kits; he don’t get drum kits from people. Makes samples while he sleeps.”
The Virginia native says he’s been hard at work on his Beatclub platform, which promotes up-and-coming producers. Timbaland says he’s been working with young creatives to ensure they’re not underselling themselves for their work.
“It’s really like a high-end concierge service, telling producers how to charge, don’t charge, you would not be making no money,” he explains. “We show you how to get to the money.”
However, some rappers don’t share Timbaland’s sentiments on the decline of production value. Rapper Bobby Shmurda voiced frustration about the prices producers were charging him — earning him flack from Boi-1da and Cardo, who agreed with Timbaland’s comments.
“These producers giving me the hardest time right now,” said Shmurda in an Instagram video. “I don’t know what rumors is going around that they think Bobby is just dropping bags.”
“Designer beats cost designer bread,” responded Boi-1da.