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De La Soul’s Catalog Withheld From Streaming Platforms Amid Dispute With Tommy Boy

Tommy Boy Music has postponed the release of iconic hip hop trio De La Soul’s catalog on streaming platforms amid a dispute over royalties, Variety reports. Tommy Boy initially planned to release the rap group’s catalog today in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of De La Soul’s landmark debut album 3 Feet & Rising. The postponement follows the members of De La Soul criticizing the “unbalanced, unfair terms” under which their back catalog will finally be made available on streaming services. “Your purchases will roughly go 90% Tommy Boy, 10% De La.” read a caption on the group’s Instagram.

“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,” a rep from Tommy Boy said in a statement issued to Variety. “We know fans are eager to hear these amazing recordings and we are hopeful for a quick resolution.”

The legendary hip hop trio’s back catalog never made it to streaming platforms and digital retailers, in part, because of sample clearance issues.

“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 [record label],” De La Soul’s DJ Maseo said Wednesday on SiriusXM’s Sway in the Morning. He added: “Now it’s 2019…but there are still some infractions around the catalog, things we’re sure aren’t cleared, that might have new potential issues. Also, what’s on the table [contractually] for De La Soul is unfavorable, especially based on the infractions that have taken place, the bills that exist over time. And we have continued to pay the price, and that’s one of our big concerns.”

A Thursday Instagram post from De La Soul’s 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.”

Artists like Nas, Questlove, and Chuck D have taken to social media to urge followers to boycott Tommy Boy amid the dispute with De La Soul.