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Desiigner’s “Panda” Hits #1 on Billboard & Beat Only Cost $200 – Lesson for Music Producers

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The smash hit “Panda” by G.O.O.D Music artist Desiigner is blazing up the charts sitting pretty at the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 right now. (Week of May 6, 2016).

And we love the song at Deviant Noise.

But there’s a big lesson for Music Producers and Beat Makers in this story of massive success.

Read on to find out what…

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Vocals: Free.

Beat: $200.

A #1 Hit: Priceless reported at the end of March that hip-hop producer Menace (@MenaceOfficialB) sold the beat to Desiigner back in 2014 for only $200.

And now the song is a smash.

The Lesson Producers Think They Should Learn

Now a lot of people on the internet are screamin’ that producers need to know their worth and charge more for their beats.

We disagree. There’s no telling what’s gonna turn into a smash. And as a producer you may have something else in mind for a beat, but the artist that buys takes it in another direction.

This happened to Menace in the case of Panda. He said:

When I posted on YouTube, I wrote: “Meek Mill—Ace Hood Type Beat.” So it came out totally different than [I thought].

So you’ll never know what might happen to a song you produced. And since so many songs don’t make it to the Billboard Hot 100, you can’t be charging regular artists $5000 for a beat!

Related Article: Tunecore vs. Distrokid – Head to Head Comparison

The Real Lesson for Producers

The real lessons people need to take from this story is to get their BUSINESS game tight. You need to have your shit together – publishing and paperwork.

Money in Music Production

Panda is being played NON-STOP right now – and royalty payments may be shit in most cases, but they’re not when you have a #1 hit song on the Billboard charts.

That’s why you need to:

1) have your music copyright protected,

2) join a Performance Rights Organization (PRO) and

3) get your licensing terms right.

Right now Desiigner is sittin pretty and reaping the benefits of his talent. And it’s very likely that Menace is getting a piece of that publishing (i.e. royalty) money too.

Let’s break this stuff down.

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This one can be tricky, depending on which country you’re in. Technically, as soon as you publish a creative work (which could mean uploading a beat publicly on YouTube) you should be able to prove ownership and copyright.

But if you want to be sure, spend some money sending a CD full of your beats to your country’s copyright office and register the copyright with them.

You’ll usually get a certificate that proves you own the creative work and all rights to reproduce it. But this isn’t legal advice, so go talk to a lawyer to be sure.


Joining a Performance Rights Organization (learn more) is VERY important. These are the companies that collect royalties for public performances of your music and distribute them.

I’m a member of SOCAN (the main Canadian PRO), and in the USA there are a couple of options – ASCAP and BMI. In Europe you have SESAC.

Join a company and submit your beats & any songs that use your beats to them.

You can also join SoundExchange, which is a company that deals with online streaming royalties.

This way, if a song you produced blows up, or even gets MILD radio play, you’ll get your piece.

Granted, this shit usually only amounts to a few dollars (or few hundred dollars if you’re lucky) every few months, but if you end up making a surprise hit – like Menace did with Panda – you’ll get a nice chunk of change.

Licensing Terms

These are your “rules” for anybody using your beats in their song or video/audio/live production

This has to do with your “contract” when selling beats. A lot of beat marketplaces offer basic licensing terms if you sell through them.

But if you’re selling privately through YouTube like Menace did, it’s a good idea to set some basic licensing terms. Are you selling the beat exclusively or non-exclusively (i.e. a “lease” beat). How much is the publishing split between artist and producer? Is there a limit to the number of downloads/streams/etc that the artist can get before having to re-negotiate the terms?

Publishing and licensing terms are pretty heavy subjects so make sure you learn all you can about them to protect your art. Here’s some free templates of different contracts music producers may find useful from

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Protect Your Art

It looks like Menace is going to be alright as far as publishing and getting paid and credited for his beat. He’s getting the shine and his placements are definitely going to go up.

Most starting and intermediate producers don’t really think about this side of the business. But the story about Desiigner’s Panda hitting #1 on the BIllboard Hot 100 Chart (two years after the song was released!) should prove you never know when you may have a hit on your hands.

And it’s best to be protected BEFORE that happens.

If you have music that’s ready to be released, I highly recommend you use TuneCore to do it – they’re an affordable way to release unlimited music to Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and more!

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    About The Author:

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    Omar Zulfi

    Omar Zulfi is a music producer, rapper, singer, songwriter and digital entrepreneur. He is the founder and head writer at Deviant Noise. Learn more about what he's doing by clicking here.