De La Soul and Tommy Boy Records fail to come to an agreement over ownership of the group’s music

"Tommy Boy says they are 'not in the business of giving artists back their Masters.'”

De La Soul have made a statement explaining that they have failed to come to an agreement with their former record label, Tommy Boy Records, over ownership of their music.

The group, made up of Posdnuos, Trugoy and Maseo, took to social media today (August 8) to announce that after seven months of “stalled negotiations” with Tommy Boy, they were unable to “reach an agreement and earn Tommy Boy’s respect for our music/legacy.”

Of the group’s nine studio albums, six were released through Tommy Boy Records, starting with their classic debut album, ‘3 Feet High and Rising’, and ending with 2001’s ‘AOI: Bionix’.


“Well friends, after 30 years of profiting from our music and hard work,” De La’s statement began, “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.”

Well friends, after 30 years of profiting from our music and hard work… and after 7 long months of stalled…

Posted by De La Soul on Thursday, August 8, 2019

Continuing, De La then told fans that if they ever see any of the group’s first six albums on any streaming services then they are not profiting from it.

“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.”


Thanking fans, De La added: “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.”

Earlier this year, De La Soul announced that their first six albums would be made available on streaming services. But soon after, Tommy Boy stated that this would not be the case, citing royalty disputes as the reason why.

Speaking with Rolling Stone back in February, Trugoy said Tommy Boy wanted 70% plus an extra 20% to cover an alleged $2 million debt owed to the label by the band. De La Soul claimed they didn’t know what debt Tommy Boy was referring to, and that they were “still trying to find clarity.”

Because of this, artists including Nas and Questlove called for a boycott of Tommy Boy.

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I hate that it has come to this. Seriously. But there is no “if I have to choose a side?” #DeLaSoul means everything to me. @WeAreDeLaSoul gave me and millions of music lovers LIFE. I been hoping and wishing and praying for their back catalogue to be made available on digital media FOREVER—-but not like this @tommyboyrecords. This narrative has been going on since the blues, since jazz, since rock n roll, since disco, since soul——-I’m proud of De La for using their voice. Let’s fix this. For the greater good. Let’s be respectful and fair. 90% to the label & 10% to the artist is not fair. Normal protocol is just to ??‍♂️ accept that’s how it is nowadays. We can change that. Change starts now. As much as it pains me to not cop 10 of those issues each and share all their timeless work of genius to a generation that has no clue—-join me in standing w De La Soul in this #TommyBOYCOTT. Do y’all understand I been waiting DECADES to finally listen to their awe inspiring work in the car, on lunch break, in the gym, just chillin? I can’t do that to them. Until you do right by the soul? There is no convo.

A post shared by Questlove Froman, (@questlove) on

Back in 2014, De La Soul announced that they would make their entire back catalogue free to download.

The US trio were preparing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ‘3 Feet High And Rising’ by making all of their music available for 25 hours via their official website.

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