Reservoir Media has officially acquired hip-hop label Tommy Boy Music, including north of 6,000 master recordings.
New York City-based Reservoir, which also has offices in Nashville, Toronto, Abu Dhabi, and London, announced its purchase of Tommy Boy Music today, via a formal release that was shared with Digital Music News. This concise message doesn’t disclose the transaction’s financial terms, but the buyout reportedly set the 14-year-old Reservoir back a cool $100 million.
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) board member Tom Silverman founded Tommy Boy Music in 1981, and Warner Music Group purchased a substantial portion of the company – and began releasing its artists’ music – in 1985. This professional relationship concluded in 2002 (with WMG retaining the masters from the period), prompting Silverman to relaunch Tommy Boy as an indie label.
Moreover, Warner Music purchased UMG’s Parlophone Label Group for over $740 million in 2013 and, due to regulatory scrutiny from the European Commission, proceeded to divest certain assets. Among these assets were the aforementioned Tommy Boy masters, which Tom Silverman repurchased in 2017, in addition to the IP of multiple other labels and artists that weren’t originally associated with Tommy Boy.
On this front, prominent acts including Queen Latifah, Coolio, and De La Soul (which engaged in a much-publicized dispute with Tommy Boy in 2019) have released music through the label. Additionally, the entity possesses the masters for well-known tracks such as Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” (1995), House of Pain’s “Jump Around” (1992), and Soulsonic Force’s “Planet Rock” (1982).
Reservoir’s purchase of Tommy Boy Music (which has garnered a cumulative total of over 1.2 billion views on YouTube) arrives ahead of a merger with blank-check acquisition company Roth CH Acquisition II (ROCC on NASDAQ) – and, in turn, a stock-market listing. When the deal officially wraps (the involved parties expect to merge sometime in 2021’s third quarter), the combined company will operate as Reservoir Media under the ticker RSVR.
Reservoir founder Golnar Khosrowshahi will remain on as CEO once the merger closes, and for reference, the Tehran, Iran, native’s company represents over 130,000 copyrights and 32,000 masters, including publishing interests in works from John Denver, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and others. Also worth noting is that Reservoir holds the rights to scores from films like Gladiator, The Lion King, and The Dark Knight trilogy.
In other acquisition news, Pershing Square Tontine Holdings is officially in talks to buy a 10 percent stake in Universal Music Group for approximately $4 billion, ahead of the Big Three label’s own stock-market debut. To be sure, Vivendi intends to take UMG public by September 27th, which is now just 115 days away.