Diddy has opted to revert the portion of music publishing rights controlled by Bad Boy Records to the artists who helped make the company what it is today, including the Biggie Smalls Estate, Faith Evans, The Lox, 112, Ma$e, and more.
Musician and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs celebrated Labor Day by reassigning Bad Boy Records music publishing rights “back to all Bad Boy artists and writers who helped build Bad Boy into the powerhouse it is today,” according to a release on the Combs-founded Revolt.
Those artists include the estate of the Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Ma$e, The Lox, 112, and “many more” creators. Details are still emerging, but the assets are estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars and have only increased in value in recent years. It’s still unclear exactly which portion of rights are getting reverted, though Revolt has confirmed that IP previously controlled by Bad Boy Records are being returned.
Combs himself has reportedly received multiple multi-million dollar offers for the publishing rights to the Bad Boy catalog, but opted instead to return the rights to the songwriters. Most — but not all — recipients are said to have been located and contacted.
Record conglomerates and publishers have historically kept a substantial portion of the publishing rights of songs made by artists signed to them. Combs followed this same format when launching Bad Boy Records in 1993, something that has drawn repeated criticism from artists like Ma$e.
Ma$e, a Bad Boy rapper who has appeared with Combs on many tracks, has repeatedly called out his former collaborator for money allegedly owed. Last year, Combs said on The Breakfast Club that Ma$e owed him $3 million, but Ma$e has aggressively disputed this, claiming that Combs refused his $2 million offer for Ma$e’s publishing rights in 2020.
“Combs sees this as part of a larger conversation to further economic empowerment for Black artists and culture,” says Revolt, noting that in a business such as music that has historically focused on making profits off of creators. “Combs’ wish is to, instead, reward the culture and develop a new legacy for Black artists.”