Diddy Says He Doesn’t Actually Pay Sting $5,000 a Day For a Sample He Used in the ’90s

Rapper and record executive Sean “Diddy” Combs rose to prominence in the 1990s alongside his good friend, The Notorious B.I.G. After Biggie’s death, Diddy paid tribute to the “Hypnotize” rapper with his own song. But the Sting song that it sampled continues to cost him money to this day. Or so he previously led us all to believe.

Diddy poses for photo 2021; Diddy recently confirmed a new record label
Diddy 2021 | Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Diddy sampled The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ for his song ‘I’ll Be Missing You’

The Notorious B.I.G.’s death in 1997 rocked the music industry and led to an outpouring of condolences for his loved ones. That same year, Diddy — who went by Puff Daddy at the time — released “I’ll Be Missing You,” a heartfelt tribute to Biggie featuring R&B group 112 and Biggie’s ex-wife, Faith Evans. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group and spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The song famously sampled The Police’s 1983 hit “Every Breath You Take.” Sampling had become a common practice in hip-hop (thanks in part to artists like Biggie), but laws around sampling remained unclear.

Diddy has said he never cleared the sample with The Police, leading to some frustration from the band’s members and some financial difficulties for the rapper.

Diddy was joking when he said he owes Sting $5,000 a day for the song

For years, the rumor has been that Diddy has to pay Sting $2,000 a day because of the sample. Celebrity Net Worth previously reported that Sting earns $730,000 a year, or $2,000 a day, off the royalties from “Every Breath You Take” alone. But on April 5, 2023, the rapper corrected that number to $5,000 a day.

The tweet caught the eyes of the masses and, once again, several outlets began to report on the new number Diddy supposedly pays Sting a day (now $5,000).

But then, on April 7, Diddy let everyone in on the joke.

“I want y’all to understand I was joking! It’s called being Facetious! Me and @OfficialSting have been friends for a long time! He never charged me $3K or $5K a day for Missing You. He probably makes more than $5K a day from one of the biggest songs in history,” he tweeted.

The tweet’s received mixed reactions. Some people don’t believe that Diddy was joking and that he really does need to pay up daily. Others don’t know what to think.

Andy Summers of The Police wasn’t pleased with the sample

Police guitarist Andy Summers is the only one actually heard on “I’ll Be Missing You.”

Summers and bandmate Stewart Copeland first spoke about the supposed payment discrepancy back in a 2000 interview with Revolver.


Diddy Faced Criticism From ‘Making the Band’ Alumni and He Responded With Blunt Advice: ‘Stop All Your Crying, B****ing, and Moaning’

“Sting’s making out like a bank robber here, while Andy and I have gone unrewarded and unloved for our efforts and contributions,” Copeland said.

Summers later expressed his thoughts on “the major rip-off of all time” in a 2012 interview with A.V. Club.

“It’s very flattering. I guess everybody likes it. Stewart [Copeland]’s not on it. Sting’s not on it. I’d be walking around Tower Records, and the f***ing thing would be playing over and over,” he said. “It was actually my kid, who was 10 at the time, [who] said, ‘Hey dad, there’s some girl on the radio who’s playing you guys!’ I went into his room and listened to his radio, and I was like, ‘This is me, what the f*** is this?'”