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Diddy Has to Pay Sting $5,000 Every Day for Life for Sampling ‘Every Breath You Take’

As the song says, "every single day."

Sean 'Diddy' Combs Prince Williams/ Getty Images

If you’ve ever wondered how much it can really cost you to sample a song without permission, Sean “Diddy” Combs has an answer for you, and it might surprise you—in fact, it seems to have even surprised the person he’s paying.

Back in 1997, Diddy wrote the hit track “I’ll Be Missing You” after his friend Notorious B.I.G. was fatally shot. In the song, he sampled The Police’s 1983 “Every Breath You Take”—without getting legal clearance from the band to do so. Over 20 years later, Police frontman Sting gave an interview in which he attested that Combs has to pay him $2,000 every single day over having used the song without permission. But just this week, Diddy hopped into the conversation with a correction: It’s actually $5,000, and yes, that’s every day for the rest of his life.

The rapper clarified the dues he’s still paying by retweeting a clip of Sting’s 2018 interview, in which he was asked about the payout over “Every Breath You Take” being sampled without authorization.

“Is it true that Diddy had to pay you two grand a day because he didn’t have permission to sample ‘Every Breath You Take’?” Charlamagne Tha God asks Sting in the video posted to Twitter. Sting answers in the affirmative in the clip, and notes that it’s “for the rest of his life.”

“Did he ask you for permission, after the fact?” Charlamagne follows up.

Sting confirms that he did: “We’re very good friends now,” he says congenially.

While Diddy’s real payout is over twice that amount, the rapper’s retweet confirms the other aspect of Sting’s version of events: there’s nothing but love and support between these two musicians despite the very expensive deal they eventually struck.

“Nope, 5K a day,” Diddy wrote. “Love to my brother @OfficialSting!”

Just to put that number into perspective: that’s $1,825,000 per year, and again, that’s every year for the rest of Diddy’s life. If he’s been paying Sting since 1997, that means he’s already paid out over $45 million to the English musician, and he’ll easily pay out another $45 million. According to the comments on Diddy’s tweet though, it was well worth it for the smash hit that “I’ll Be Missing You” turned out to be.

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