Diddy says that he has to pay Sting $5,000 a day for his use of the Every Breath You Take sample in I’ll Be Missing You

Sting and Diddy
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NARAS)

Diddy has seemingly confirmed that he has to pay Sting $5,000 a day for his use of the Every Breath You Take sample in I’ll Be Missing You, his 1997 hit (as Puff Daddy) with Faith Evans.

The song was created in tribute to Diddy’s great friend, The Notorious BIG, who had recently been murdered, and went on to become one of the best-selling singles of all time. However, when it was released, Diddy hadn’t sought Sting’s permission to use the sample, and the matter had to be settled after the fact. The result was that Sting was awarded 100% of the song’s royalties.

In a 2018 interview with The Breakfast Club, Sting was asked about the matter and confirmed that, because of his use of the sample - and, presumably, the fact that I’ll Be Missing You’s chorus also interpolates Every Breath You Take’s Melody - Diddy has to pay him $2,000 a day “for the rest of his life”.

However, a clip of this interview has recently resurfaced, and Diddy has now issued a correction on Twitter. “Nope, 5K a day,” he said. “Love to my brother Sting!”

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The post was made in good humour, it seems. Diddy is said to get on pretty well with Sting these days; even back in 1997, the pair were on good enough terms to perform a mash-up of I’ll Be Missing You and Every Breath You Take with Faith Evans at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Police guitarist Andy Summers, though - the man who played the iconic Every Breath You Take riff that plays a key role in I’ll Be Missing You's beat - wasn’t able to cash in. Sting takes the sole songwriting credit on The Police’s track, meaning that he alone takes the resulting royalties.

Recalling the moment he heard I’ll Be Missing You for the first time, Summers told Ultimate Classic Rock: “My 10-year-old came in the house and came over. He goes, ‘Hey Dad, I want you to come listen to my radio in the room. There’s a guy who is completely doing your guitar thing.’ I went in and it was the first time I’d heard Puff Daddy and whatever he called that song. I went, ‘Oh my God.’”

Summers went on to raise the matter with management: “I think we ended up settling out of court and we got some kind of royalty,” he says. “But I mean, I think he sold 30 million singles with that track or something and we didn’t get anything out of it.”

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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