The internet is undoubtedly one of the greatest gifts ever produced by mankind, but it's not all memes and hashtags out here in these digital streets.
With the increased connectivity the internet has provided comes an increased vulnerability to cyber shenanigans, especially for those with some clout behind their names.
We recently saw Metro Boomin fall prey to a widespread hack of his social media accounts, including his SoundCloud page, and now MMG producer Beat Billionaire is the latest victim of shady internet scammers.
A quick look at Beat Billionaire’s Twitter timeline shows a boldly-worded warning to anyone who may have been contacted by an anonymous scammer claiming to be the “Dead Presidents” producer, and an e-mail sent to us by Billionaire’s management contains a slew of screenshots from duped rappers who shelled out hundreds of dollars for what they thought was going to be their big (beat) break.
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While I can’t really blame an independent artist for being reasonably excited by the prospect of being contacted by a name producer from what appears to be a legitimate e-mail address, there is plenty of homework that must be done before taking the next step, which starts with making sure you’re speaking to the actual producer before making any payment arrangements.
As we saw in a couple of the provided screenshots, this particular scammer immediately backed off after being asked for verification, and a couple artists were smart enough to reach out to Billionaire’s booking email to make sure they were dealing with the real deal.
If and when an artist does, in fact, speak with the actual producer, a beat should never, ever blindly be paid for. Most professional, established producers should be willing to submit, at the very least, a watermarked snippet of their beat before asking for or expecting to receive payment, which in the case of these unfortunate artists would’ve been an immediate smoking gun, as this guy pretending to be Beat Billionaire clearly didn’t have his plan thought out that far in advance.
As long as the internet is around, there will be people looking to make a quick buck at the expense of the excitement and naivete of unsuspecting users. With a discerning eye and some smart business acumen, however, artists can pretty easily make sure they’re not the next victim of an anonymous scammer pretending to be someone they’re not.
Be safe, be smart and be vigilant. Don’t let anyone take the hard earned cash that ultimately acts as the fuel for your dreams.