De La Soul battled through nearly an hour’s worth of technical difficulties to announce that the rumors were, in fact, true. After decades of legal battles, the legendary group has control of its music and their celebrated back catalog of six albums will soon be available to stream on Spotify, TIDAL, and Apple Music.
“We’re thrilled,” said Trugoy in the glitched-out Instagram Live transmission. “We have come to a deal between ourselves and Reservoir to release our music in 2021 — our catalog will be released this year, we are working diligently with the good folks at Reservoir, and we sat down with them and got it done pretty quickly actually,” said Maseo. The group refused to bash their former label, Tommy Boy Records, who had previously attempted to release their music on streamers with a criminal split, allowing just 10% of revenue to be directed to the band. This spurred a campaign to boycott Tommy Boy and the band’s music until a more adequate agreement was reached.
On Saturday, August 7th Talib Kweli surfaced with the scoop. “After years of being taken advantage by the recording industry in the worst possible ways, De La Soul now owns all the rights to their masters and is in full control of the amazing music they have created,” Kweli wrote in an Instagram post, claiming the word came down from Maseo earlier in the day. “Let’s salute Plugs 1, 2 and 3 for sticking to their guns and showing us that we can all beat the system if we come together as a community. Let’s hear it for black ownership of black art! Congratulations fellas,” Kweli added.
This news arrived in the wake of Tommy Boy’s recent acquisition by Reservoir, a New York-based music rights company that paid $100 million for the catalogs of Tommy Boy, Amherst Records, Harlem Music, and Halwill Music, at the beginning of the summer. The rights to De La’s first six albums were reportedly included in the more than 6,000 song catalog purchased by Reservoir. And since the announcement of the catalog’s acquisition, Reservoir has been clear about its intention to mend the mismanagement of the group’s music. “We have already reached out to De La Soul and will work together to the bring the catalog and the music back to the fans,” a Reservoir rep told Variety in the announcement of their deal with Tommy Boy.
A firm date for the release of the group’s catalog has yet to be unveiled. Hold tight for updates in the weeks and months ahead.
This story was updated on August 10th, 2021.
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