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  • Writer's pictureOmar Holloway

The Bootleg Kev Podcast ft. EPMD's Erick Sermon: What your catalog publishing can do for you now and later - Business of Music

Erick Sermon says he gets $240,000 every four months thanks to Metro Boomin’s "Creepin'" track featuring The Weeknd and 21 Savage; via not selling his publishing and having 4% ownership per use of his duo's debut song "You're A Customer".

In a recent interview with Bootleg Kev, the producer and EPMD member spoke about the importance of owning publishing, particularly in the current climate of streaming hits that are often short-lived.

"This is not no boast or nothing, but me owning my own publishing, everybody calls me... So if it were for all of 50 Cent shows, whatever my placements, they gotta call me direct. I was telling my man that. The Weeknd is one of the most streamed artists in the world, right? So him and Metro Boomin did (improvised) 'I Don’t Wanna Know,' which is (including) 'You’re a Customer'. I only own four percent of that record."

To be clear, Metro’s "Creepin’" is a remake, of sorts, of Mario Winans' 2004 hit "I Don’t Wanna Know" - which featured a sample of the EPMD track "You’re A Customer" originally released in 1988. >

E-Double pointed to what he says is his publishing stake in the Metro version. "Listen... every four months, guess how much it brings in?... 240 ($240K)… I only own 4%... (because of “You’re A Customer” on that song)."

From there, Sermon spoke more generally about how maintaining control of his own publishing has helped shape the financial side of his career. "Even though streaming might be less than one cent, it’s still more money being made than [if] you signed to a label..." he said; adding that many young artists "don’t have a clue" when it comes to publishing and related business issues.

Erick Sermon elucidated, "... not to downplay y'all but to let y'all know what y'all have to do…  because this thing is not a lasting thing... at this time... we living in moments - times of popularity where things are fast food - every new, every hour something is coming... People talk about the 401K your retirement plan, this is what publishing is - it's your life. If you're able to have some of it, please grab as much as you can... then all of a sudden you might catch a placement like I just told you - it happens (referring to the $240K quarterly)... I'm just giving you one (of his scenarios) - this happens all the time - I'm just giving you one thing about having publishing and what it can do for you."

Bootleg Kev concurred, "I think most people don't understand... how important the pub game is because we always are pushed like 'well the streaming only pays this - if you get a million streams it's like 3,800 bucks'... the real money is really in the pub... like if you... own your publishing ...cuz you're going to get that mailbox money... for sure..."

EPMD's "You're A Customer" was featured on their landmark 1988 debut Strictly Business; and most notably one of the few records to get a rare "five mics" from The Source and being known as one of the most acclaimed hip-hop records of all time. It was a combination of snippets of Steve Miller's "Fly Like an Eagle," Kool & the Gang's "Jungle Boogie", the bass line from ZZ Top's "Cheap Sunglasses" and a created drum beat (Roger Linn LM-2 machine).

During a prior interview with Complex, Erick explained, "We got the idea from ZZ Top's 'Cheap Sunglasses.' So it was ZZ Top, looped underneath the Lindrum drums. A Lindrum was a beat machine that Charlie had. So while we looped the loop, we put the drums on top of it to make it harder. I got a lot of money off the 'You're A Customer' drums."

Hence, "You're A Customer" iconic drum outro is heavily featured in many hit recordings - including "I Don't Wanna Know" and "Creepin'."

The album Strictly Business peaked No. 1 and is certified gold.


According to Groover's blog page, if you’re an indie musician without a publisher, you automatically retain all publishing rights to your song.

The words rights and royalties are often used interchangeably. Let’s answer a simple question to avoid future confusion: what’s the difference?

Rights refer to the ability to reproduce, distribute, and perform a piece of music in any way.

Royalties are payments owed to the copyright holder for the use of the music. In short, music rights are the legal rights associated with a piece of music, while royalties are the money paid for the use of those rights. >


 • SOURCE: Erick Sermon Says His 4 Percent Cut of Metro Boomin’s "Creepin'" Nets Him $240,000 Quarterly; The Weeknd-featuring Metro track is a remake of "I Don't Wanna Know," a 2004 Mario Winans hit that sampled EPMD. Complex >


*VIDEO: Erick Sermon gets $240k Checks from Metro Boomin & The Weeknd's "Creepin'" Song from 4% Ownership. Bootleg Kev >

*RehaB101 Original New School Webcast > #RehaB101ONSW newsfeed.

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