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De La Soul’s streaming release postponed; Nas & others boycott Tommy Boy

De La Soul at Governors Ball
De La Soul at Governors Ball (photo by Amanda Hatfield)

De La Soul recently revealed that their classic albums would finally be coming to streaming services, but at a major expense for the group, who said they would be getting “roughly 10%” of the revenue while the other 90% would be going to their former label Tommy Boy Records. Now, in the wake of the drama, Tommy Boy tells Variety that they’ve decided to postpone the streaming release.

“Because Tommy Boy has not had the opportunity to sit down together with De La Soul and finalize our negotiations — something we’ve wanted to do for months — we have decided to postpone the digital release of their catalog scheduled for tomorrow,” the label said. “We know fans are eager to hear these amazing recordings and we are hopeful for a quick resolution.”

Variety says that a Tommy Boy rep stressed that sampling was not a central issue of the disagreement, and that “negotiating points are still to be finalized.” (De La Soul have faced legal issues over uncleared samples for decades.)

De La Soul’s latest update on Instagram reads: “Dear fans, Tommy Boy wants to negotiate, but only if we sign a confidentiality agreement first. Feels like they want to silence us to ensure that we cannot share this story with you, while they continue to short change our legacy at the negotiating table. How about we close a deal first, then we agree to keep the deal confidential.”

De La also said that they spoke to TIDAL and that TIDAL “has decided not to stream [their] catalog until this matter has been resolved.” “Thank you TIDAL… thank you Jay,” they add.

Nas, Questlove, Public Enemy, Public Enemy’s Chuck D, and A Tribe Called Quest’s Jarobi White have also been posting Instagrams urging people to boycott Tommy Boy:

View this post on Instagram

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 Gomez (@questlove) on

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What they are doing to De La Soul makes my skin crawl

A post shared by Pete Rock (@realpeterock) on

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I never get involved in business that's not my own. This hits way to close to home. I echo Questlove's feelings. Y'all know De La is my favorite group in the world! Please repost this to all your followers. And ask your followers to do the same. Let's try to fix this antiquated record label bad loan bullshit! #tommyboycott Reposted from @questlove – 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 Jarobi White (@jarobiwhite) on

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