De La Soul's Catalogue Will Come "Back to the Fans" — and Streaming Services — Following Label Acquisition

Tommy Boy Music, and the trio's discography, have been acquired by Reservoir Media for $100 million

Photo: Lindsey Blane

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Jun 4, 2021

The future of De La Soul's catalogue has been up in the air since the trio halted negotiations with Tommy Boy Music in 2019, though it could soon arrive on digital platforms following a change in ownership of their former label home.

Variety reports that New York-based music-rights company Reservoir has acquired Tommy Boy for around $100 million USD, according to an SEC filing. The deal involves more than 6,000 master recordings, including hits such as Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise," House of Pain's "Jump Around," and Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force's "Planet Rock."

With regards to De La Soul's catalogue, a spokesperson for Reservoir told Variety, "We have already reached out to De La Soul and will work together to the bring the catalogue and the music back to the fans."

In February 2019, De La Soul shared that plans had been made to release their Tommy Boy catalogue digitally, though "your purchases will roughly go 90 precent to Tommy Boy, 10 percent to De La." They urged fans at the time, "Don't feed the Vultures, support and respect the culture #30years If you wanna support De La Soul, cop the #grinddate and #anonymousnobody albums."

The trio would drop negotiations with Tommy Boy entirely in August that same year, writing to fans, "After 30 years of profiting from our music and hard work...and after 7 long months of stalled negotiations, we are sad to say that we've been unable to reach an agreement and earn Tommy Boy's respect for our music/legacy.... If you see De La Soul music/albums available for streaming or purchase anywhere, BE AWARE, all parties involved WILL profit but De La Soul WILL NOT benefit or earn deservedly/fairly. We really tried."

De La Soul's Tommy Boy catalogue includes revered 1989 debut 3 Feet High and Rising, 1991's De La Soul Is Dead, 1993's Buhloone Mindstate, 1996's Stakes Is High, 2000's Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump and 2001's AOI: Bionix.

More recently, De La Soul fought for control of their music in an episode of Teen Titans GO! The group's most recent album remains 2016's and the Anonymous Nobody...

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