De La Soul Cut Ties With Tommy Boy After Battle Over Back Catalog – Rolling Stone
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De La Soul Cut Ties With Tommy Boy After Battle Over Back Catalog

“That old enslaved record label contract dinosaur is long dead and gone, but unfortunately still stinks”

De La Soul's Kelvin Mercer, Vincent Mason and David Jude Jolicoeur, from left, perform at Rachel Ray's Feedback Party at Stubb's during the South by Southwest Music Festival, in Austin, Texas2017 SXSW - De La Soul, Austin, USA - 18 Mar 2017

De La Soul have cut ties with Tommy Boy Records following a months-long negotiation over the streaming rights of their back catalog.

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De La Soul have announced that, after 30 years with Tommy Boy Records, the legendary rap group has cut ties with the record label following a months-long negotiation over the streaming rights of their back catalog.

In February, plans to bring De La Soul’s Tommy Boy-era LPs – including classics like 1989’s 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul Is Dead and Buhloone Mindstateto streaming services were 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.

De La Soul lobbied both streaming services and rap peers – including to Nas and Questlove – to both not upload their back catalog and boycott Tommy Boy until the two sides worked out a new deal. However, after seven months, De La Soul has stepped away from the negotiations.

“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,” De La Soul wrote on Instagram.

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Well friends, 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. With some helpful consulting and long careful consideration, we’ve decided we will not do our 30+ years the disservice of settling on Tom Silverman’s terms. Tommy Boy says they are “not in the business of giving artists back their Masters.” We realize, there is a process in reclaiming ownership but we do not trust Tommy Boy in this process after so many years of disappointment. Therefore, our catalog will not see the light of day by way of our involvement or consent. This means, 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. More details to come. Nevertheless, our fans have/will keep our legacy alive! We appreciate and ask for your continued support. Onto new things, new music and more amazing respectful business relationships. #dontpressplay #respectourlegacy #respecttheculture #tommyboycottcontinues #4080

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“Tommy Boy says they are ‘not in the business of giving artists back their Masters.’ We realize, there is a process in reclaiming ownership but we do not trust Tommy Boy in this process after so many years of disappointment. Therefore, our catalog will not see the light of day by way of our involvement or consent.”

De La Soul continued, “This means, 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.”

At press time, De La Soul’s Tommy Boy-era albums were still unavailable on streaming services. The group pledged to continue recording and releasing under their own terms: In 2016, De La Soul released their Kickstarter-funded LP And the Anonymous Nobody.

“We wish Tommy Boy no ills but we do call for a boycott of anything bearing the name,” De La Soul wrote Sunday. “Karma will do the rest… that old enslaved record label contract dinosaur is long dead and gone, but unfortunately still stinks.”

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Thank you friends and fans. Your kind positive words mean a lot and your support goes even farther. As frustrating as it is and as crazy as it may sound, your act of NOT purchasing or streaming anything musically De La Soul, falling under the Tommy Boy banner (until further notice) helps us immensely and can possibly aid others experiencing these similar woes. Thank you @nas …thanks Pete @bittenbender and @massappeal for your committed support and promising business relationship. We’re in the stew working on new music and will continue to celebrate this wonderful journey we’ve been blessed to experience. Thank you @djpremier and @realpeterock for your diligence and support. 30 years is a helluva milestone. We’re so proud to be able to share our celebration with you all. Look out for our 30 year commemorative release coming very soon #delacoinz Your support will directly fund future endeavors and projects…. Just to put the final nail in the coffin. We wish Tommy Boy no ills but we do call for a boycott of anything bearing the name. Karma will do the rest… that old enslaved record label contract dinosaur is long dead and gone, but unfortunately still stinks. For those who may not have had a similar experience with Tommy Boy, be thankful, be wise and stay alert… the devil does not rest and is never satisfied. Peace. Plug 1,2 and 3 Seek and check out these De La Soul releases: Impossible Mission mixtape #grinddate De La Soul: Are You In? Nike + Original run #smelltheda.i.s.y. #andtheanonymousnobody Tom Misch feat. De La Soul “It Runs Through Me” @djshadow feat. De La Soul “Rocket Fuel”

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