It looks like the De La Soul streaming drought might be coming to an end.
This week, Reservoir Media acquired the iconic hip-hop label Tommy Boy Music for close to $100 million. With this purchase came ownership of Tommy Boy’s vast catalog which includes six of De La Soul’s albums like the classic project 3 Feet High and Rising. Through this acquisition, Reservoir says it’s willing to construct a deal to get De La Soul’s music on streaming services.
“We have already reached out to De La Soul and will work together to bring the catalog and the music back to the fans,” a spokesperson for Reservoir told Variety on Friday.
De La Soul is one of the last iconic acts who’s music is not on streaming services, but it’s not because they don’t believe in the concept. In 2019, the group claimed that Tommy Boy’s founder Tom Silverman approached them with a deal that would result in De La Soul receiving just 10% of the streaming revenue. They declined. The low split is reportedly due to Silverman and Tommy Boy forcing the group to foot the bill for uncleared samples that should’ve been handled when the albums were being created.
“I don’t know what [Tommy Boy’s] deals were with clearing samples, but back then a lot was probably done on a handshake, especially when you’re an independent,” De La’s Maseo said to Sway in the Morning in 2019. “Nothing comes to the surface until it actually turns into something. If I was the record company at that time, I would have probably thought it was a small thing and not cleared it: ‘This little 30-second thing, who would come after that?’ And it happened! I think by the time [the catalog] got to Warner Bros., people started come out of the woodwork, and I think for the most part [those] people are the ones whose business didn’t get dealt with.”
After earning just “pennies” and “peanuts” for their music throughout their career, De La Soul wanted Tommy Boy to rectify the situation or give them the rights to their music. This stalemate continued until the company’s acquisition. Now, the new management is vowing to rectify the situation so classic songs like “Plug Tunin’,” “Eye Know,” and “Me, Myself, and I” can have new lives for a younger generation.