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Timbaland on Prioritizing Work and Life: When he Was ‘$500K a Day” for Beats, it Wasn’t About the Money. ‘Music ‘Made me Feel Rich’

Here’s the question: What do you prioritize: health or wealth? For producer Timbaland, it is a mixture of both. You can’t have one without the other.

The producer behind the success of artists such as Jay-Z, Aaliyah, Missy Elliott, Janet Jackson, Rihanna, Madonna, Nas, Justin Timberlake, ColdPlay, Bjork, and more, says his best music, tracks that commanded anywhere between $300,000 to $500,000 a day, came after he started placing “value” on his life and not just chasing the bag.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 25: Timbaland attends the Pre-GRAMMY Gala and GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Sean “Diddy” Combs on January 25, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

“The music I’ve just loved it. It made me feel rich,” he said on the podcast “ProducerGrind” on Nov. 9. “So, I gotta be consistent because I feel like I was making a million dollars every day when I wasn’t — because the music made me feel like a million bucks.”

In fact, he told Men’s Health in 2019 before he locked into personal wellness, he wouldn’t even take pictures because he was so unhappy with how he looked, and that translated into his production.

This prompted him to see a physician, where he discovered he was borderline diabetic — something he would have never known had he not gone to the doctors. This was more than just vanity; this was about his life.

Lifestyle Change Fueled New Ventures

In two years, he was able to transform his life, saying of his change, “you’re not eating for taste; you’re eating for fuel.” During this time, he not only gave up his addiction to food but also to drugs.

The change in diet translated to him being more productive in the business of music.

“It makes me not just focus on Tim and makes me understand what the brand of Timbaland is,” the Grammy Award-winner says. “I don’t believe I understood my value when I was the other Tim.”

According to Josh St. Clair, who interviewed him in 2020, Timbaland said “dropping [the] pounds helped him make better beats,” and become a better businessperson.

The sober-minded Timbaland is now helping the next generation achieve the same level of success. He has a stable of young producers in his company.

Limit for Value

The problem is while he is now at his absolute best in producing, the current climate in hip-hop doesn’t appreciate it, he noted.

“I used to get like $300K to $500K back in the day,” he said on the “Producer Grind” podcast. When asked why it is not like that now, he said, “’Cause y’all don’t put no value on yourself.”  

He mentioned that the new methods of creating music do not command top dollar. Back in the day, he said, “for the producer game, it was way better than what y’all doing.”

“We don’t come from a world where you send in beats. We come from a space where beats were tailor-made,” he shared.

He added, “The producer was respected way more. You needed a dope producer as an artist. Now, you got YouTube … people putting beats on, and it’s just not the same. It’s just like the wild, wild west out there.”

Timbaland went on to say there was something he learned from his healthy lifestyle change. It is about limiting what you do to add value to the work or even experience.

“You could still have some kind of value, you just got to limit what you do … what you send out. Go through a funnel … Make it be worth something instead of just sending out [anything to anybody],” he shared.

Clear Mind for New Ventures

According to the producer, who has a net worth of $85 million, life is about balance, not overindulgence. This new mindset, he says, led to new business and creative ventures.

Out of his new clear mind, he worked with another titan Hip-Hop producer, Swizz Beatz to create Verzuz. The original Instagram competition program kept people entertained during the COVID-19 pandemic, placing comparable artists up against each other.

The two sold the property to Triller in 2021 but later filed a $28 million lawsuit claiming the terms of the acquisition were never fulfilled. The suit was settled in September 2022.

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