After a long battle to get their back catalog heard in the digital realm, De La Soul’s music will hit all streaming platforms later this year, the group announced on Instagram Live.
The group, who cut ties with their label of 30 years Tommy Boy last year after negotiations fell apart on streaming rights, have partnered with Reservoir Media, the music rights company who acquired Tommy Boy in June.
“We’re trying to work hard and diligently along with the good folks at Reservoir to get this done. We sat down and we got it done pretty quick, actually,” Trugoy the Dove told Posdnuos in the video chat. “It was kind of impressive how fast we got it done, maybe in two weeks time tops.”
That is a significant contrast to their seven-months-long negotiations with Tommy Boy to bring the group’s Tommy Boy-era LPs — including 1989’s 3 Feet High and Rising, 1991’s De La Soul Is Dead and 1993’s Buhloone Mindstate to streaming services. The deal was delayed by clearance issues related to the albums as well as what De La Soul deemed was an unfair split of the streaming profits; the label was only giving the group 10 percent of streaming profits, with Tommy Boy pocketing the rest, the group said at the time.
“Totally different approach than what was happening with Tommy Boy and I’m not speaking to bash [founder] Tom Silverman or Tommy Boy in any way, but we are happy that that chapter is over and done with,” Trugoy the Dove added. “And we’re looking forward to our relationship with Reservoir Media, which is awesome man. I think we needed new soil to work with and these folks up there…[are] good people who are looking after us and trying to do the right thing by ourselves, our music our legacy, and, of course, the fans.”
For years, the trio has been in legal limbo, including issues surrounding uncleared samples, which prevented them from allowing their music to be made available digitally. In 2014, they circumvented the red tape by releasing their entire catalog for free for 25 hours. “It’s about allowing our fans who have been looking and trying to get a hold of our music to have access to it,” Posdnuos told Rolling Stone of the move at the time. “It’s been too long where our fans haven’t had access to everything. This is our way of showing them how much we love them.”
During the Instagram Live video, Posdnuos added, “We’re very happy that we’re able to get the music out for all our fans to hear, and for us to hear.” Trugoy the Dove acknowledged there may still be some hoops they need to jump through to make their catalog available, but he sounded confident that it will happen “later this year.”
“We’re trying to get the whole catalog out. There’s a lot of back work that needs to be done, so that’s why it’s taking a little time to get that out, but we’re trying to look to release music from our catalog this year.”