Shaggy had advised artists at the recent Island Music Conference where he mentioned an unnamed manager who improperly managed him and possibly took advantage of him and his career due to what he called an unfair deal.
While he did not mention Livingston, Shaggy’s former manager from 1993- 2011 feels the statements were directed at him, and he sought to clear the air on TVJ’s Entertainment report. Livingston says most of what Shaggy said is “gossip” and “not speaking the truth.”
Shaggy also expressed the importance of artists being bankable and worthy of investments from record labels and corporate companies. To achieve this, artists must become professionals and develop a good work ethic.
“When Ariana Grande comes out and she has a roll out of $10 million per song to roll out, it’s because she is bankable, it’s because the record company is investing in her, knowing that one she is going to show up on time, two she is going to go hard, three you know what I mean she is going to come with the bells and whistle, and four she has a team that is pro,” Shaggy continues. “If we don’t start getting a team that is pro, then nobody is going to want to bank.”
Shaggy is one of the most commercially successful artists in Jamaican music history, with a diamond-selling album and several massive hit records that stood the test of time.
Last year, Shaggy opened the doors to both young and seasoned artists in the business to come and sit with him and ask him questions. This, he said, is his way of giving back and helping to educate the current crop of artists to push their careers to higher heights.
“I’ve seen artists who’ve gotten prime opportunities and because of hustle mentality decided they’re not gonna take it. If you get a manager who don’t know how to build a career they just know how to collect money, you’re gonna have a problem…for me, my biggest thing right in the position I am in now is to create a platform to teach. Anybody can come to me to ask me [anything],” the artist said
Shaggy warns artists against trusting managers to manage their money
During the IMC panel, Shaggy warned the artist to be wary and not to trust members of their team to singlehandedly manage their finances as was the norm with the unnamed former manager.
“Some of us are artistes that end up trusting people around us which might be the manager or something like that. I am saying it over and over again ‘managers are not supposed to touch yuh money’. That is not your manager’s job. What you put together is a team,” Shaggy said.
He also hinted that he might have lost money because he didn’t understand the music business at the time.
“I am financially secure now but I had to build that back because I was not smart; I didn’t know the game,” the “It Wasn’t Me” singer said.
Shaggy might have had many managers in his career, which spans three decades. It’s also been 20 years since he last worked with Livingston, and his career has gone on to see greater successes.
However, Livingston appears to think that Shaggy was speaking about him, although Shaggy did not point to a specific incident or period that can reasonably identify him.
In his ER report, Livingston claims that Shaggy is tarnishing his name with false statements.
“Shaggy mentioned many different things and one of them that really stands out to me is the fact that (he says) he was robbed, and he was cheated of the percentage of the royalties that he was getting,” Livingston said. “I wasn’t taking 40 percent of his entire career. He is tarnishing my name about the deal that we have and it’s not the truth.”
Livingston produced Shaggy’s third studio Boombastic album, which was commercially successful and went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 1995.
Robert Livingston breaks down his deal with Shaggy
In the interview with Anthony Miller Robert Livingston explains his deal with Shaggy.
“The percentage that I was getting was very clear. It was 40 percent on production, 25 percent from publishing and 20 percent on management,” Livingston continues. “And I don’t do double-dipping, so I wasn’t getting management percentage from publishing and royalties. No. I was only getting management percentage from touring.”
The producer continued, “Industry standard was 50/50 those days. His same lawyer that is representing him now was signing deals, production deals when artistes signed to production companies – was 50/50. Check it out…. And I gave you 60 and I take 40 from the get-go.”
The reason Shaggy and Livingston parted ways has never been revealed, but according to the producer who shared that he was sure Shaggy was directing the remarks at him, the artist has an issue with “everything,” and he is not to be blamed if Shaggy has less money.
“Shaggy has a problem with everything because he thinks he should have been more wealthy, have more money. And I understand that too. He should have had 10x the amount. But why? Don’t blame it on me- ‘oh he was not smart enough, or he should have done this, he should have done that’,” he said.
Robert Livingston speak on Shaggy being dropped from label
Livingston also says he stood by Shaggy when he was dropped by his record label, although he had other opportunities.
“I could have done way worse; you could have had less. You could have never ever even had a career. When Virgin dropped Shaggy, I said to Shaggy: ‘I am not going anywhere. I had three job offers. And I didn’t take them. I sit there with him and I said you know what? We gonna get you back up in this thing; we gonna do it together. Because nobody was around us. Just him and I and we did it,” Livingston said.
The artist’s manager also explained that the artist’s Hot Shot album did not hit the jackpot, and his career was plagued by legal issues and losses.
He also laid the blame squarely as a “team decision” on him and Shaggy.
Robert Livingston on Shaggy’s Hot Shot album run
“We never had a good run with the Hot Shot album or anything that we were doing… because we were swimming upstream like a salmon. We never had it great like everybody else. We had samples; we had lawsuits; we had so many things coming at us. We had tours that [were] cancelled. We lost almost $3 million on a commercial that we didn’t get for “It Wasn’t Me.” We lost $2.5 million. We lost over $15 million in that period. Lots of money we lost, I couldn’t say it was my decision, it was a team decision.”
Robert Livingston on negotiating Shaggy’s Universal Music Group deal
Livingston also goes on to take responsibility for his negotiations with Universal Music Group. According to him, the artist was selling records, but legal issues continued to pop up.
“I didn’t want the label to become a Shaggy burden or if it fail Shaggy fails and of course that was a mistake,” he said without going into details about what happened and what the loss was.
Livingston maintains that he has the statements for the management periods as well as the contract he has with Shaggy, and he is puzzled about Shaggy’s statements as he referred to the artist as “vindictive” and implied that he had to defend himself because he still works in the music business.
“You can’t keep talking things and saying things and ‘I leave you broke and stuff like that. I have never heard Shaggy give me credit go for anything,” he said.
Shaggy has not acknowledged Livingston, who maintained in the interview that Shaggy was speaking about him but couldn’t name him because he might face a defamation lawsuit.