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Hold up — *how* much does Diddy pay Sting for using “Every Breath You Take” in “I’ll Be Missing You”?

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NARAS

Diddy‘s 1997 number-one hit “I’ll Be Missing You” is based on the 1983 number-one hit “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, written by the band’s frontman, Sting.  On Wednesday, Diddy revealed just how much money Sting makes from the use of that sample.


After Diddy sampled “Every Breath You Take” without Sting’s permission, the rocker took legal action, earning a much higher percentage of the song’s royalties than he would have if Diddy had simply asked. As a result, the story goes, Sting makes $730,000 in royalties from the song each year — which works out to two grand per day.

Except it turns out he earns even more than that.

Responding to a tweet of an interview clip in which Sting confirms the $2000-per-day figure, Diddy offers a correction: “Nope. 5K a day. Love to my brother @OfficialSting!”

In the interview clip, Sting says he and Diddy are very good friends: In fact, he even joined Diddy and Faith Evans to perform the song — a tribute to the late rapper Notorious B.I.G. — on the 1997 MTV VMAs.

The person who ended up getting a raw deal was Police guitarist Andy Summers.  In addition to sampling the melody of “Every Breath You Take,” it also sampled Summers’ iconic guitar part for the song, but since he technically doesn’t have a songwriting credit, he didn’t get any money, and he’s still salty about it, having complained about it in several interviews.

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