The catalog of rap legends De La Soul is set to hit streaming services after decades absent from any digital marketplace. The release will conclude a long-running dispute between De La and their label, Tommy Boy Records, and the attending legal complications that kept their fans from accessing their music outside of physical purchases or downloading (for free) directly from De La Soul’s website.
While the development is an exciting one for fans of the trio, it comes with its own dose of controversy. According to Instagram posts from the group, they do not feel the contract that’s bringing classic albums like 3 Feet High and Rising to streaming platforms is a fair one. “Your purchases will roughly go 90% to Tommy Boy, 10% De La,” the group wrote to their fans. “We are not happy releasing our catalog under such unbalanced, unfair terms.”
As a result, while services like Spotify and Apple Music are ostensibly set to begin streaming the classic catalog, one service is planning to stand down. “It’s not going up on Tidal,” Maseo tells Rolling Stone. The omission, the group says, is in solidarity over the group’s contract disputes. “Jay-Z reached out,” says Maseo. “He’s not willing to support this.”
According to the group, Tidal owner Jay-Z reached out personally with his support — and the promise to keep the catalog off the streaming service he owns. “[Tidal] supports the artist,” says Trugoy. “That’s just the bottom line.”
The group is appreciative of the gesture. “That’s a great thing to know that people recognize the nonsense and they recognize and empathize with the artists,” says Trugoy. “At the end of the day, you feel like that’s why your peers are reaching out to you, in support of you.”
A source close to the situation confirmed that the service will not be making the group’s music available for streaming. A rep for Jay-Z did not immediately reply to a request for comment.