Reservoir Media (NASDAQ: RSVR) is officially set to bring the catalog of hip-hop trio De La Soul to leading streaming services.
Reservoir detailed 35-year-old De La Soul’s quick-approaching (and long-awaited) arrival on streaming services via a formal release today. Previously, members Posdnuos (real name Kelvin Mercer), Trugoy (David Jude Jolicoeur), and Maseo (Vincent Mason) made clear their dissatisfaction with the revenue-sharing terms that Tommy Boy Music had proposed for streaming.
Needless to say, given Reservoir’s new announcement, this cash-centered hang-up prevented De La Soul’s projects, 3 Feet High and Rising (1989) and De La Soul Is Dead (1991) among them, from becoming available to fans via digital services.
But with Reservoir having scooped up Tommy Boy itself in June of 2021, De La Soul has now given the green light to the much-anticipated streaming-service debut.
Reservoir indicated that “the group’s iconic catalog will be released on digital streaming services for the first time ever on” Friday, March 3rd, which will mark the 34th anniversary of 3 Feet High and Rising’s release.
Said catalog refers specifically to the three-piece act’s Tommy Boy albums, which, besides those mentioned above, include Buhloone Mindstate (1993), Stakes Is High (1996), Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (2000), and AOI: Bionix (2001). The New York City-headquartered company is poised to provide “support” for the rollout, whereas Chrysalis Records (which Reservoir bought in 2019 and subsequently relaunched) is expected to handle the actual distribution.
Additionally, Chrysalis “will devote comprehensive marketing support to the group with a robust release campaign,” according to Reservoir. De La Soul vinyl, CDs, and cassettes (as well as a seemingly large merch collection) are already available for pre-order.
Lastly, in terms of the multifaceted announcement’s details, De La Soul will release a digital edition of “The Magic Number” (the opening track, aside from an intro, on 3 Feet High and Rising) on Friday, January 13th. A “cassingle” will start shipping out that same day, per a product listing on De La Soul’s online store.
In a statement, De La Soul members touted the strong relationship that they have with Reservoir, while EVP of A&R and catalog development Faith Newman in remarks of her own noted that bringing the group’s albums to streaming services had been a top priority since the Tommy Boy buyout closed.
“When Reservoir acquired Tommy Boy, the first call we made was to De La Soul,” Newman said in part. “We vowed to bring their music to streaming, and it means the world to our team to make good on that promise and expose a whole new generation of listeners to one of the most important catalogs in hip-hop history.”
Similarly, Reservoir president and COO Rell Lafargue communicated in part: “We identified this opportunity when we were in the preliminary stages of acquiring Tommy Boy. Over the past 18 months, we have worked tirelessly with De La Soul, maintaining a heightened attention to honoring the group’s original musical details, including bringing Prince Paul and the original team to the studio to prepare the catalog for streaming.”
October of 2022 saw Reservoir ink a deal with hip-hop artist (and Naughty By Nature founding member) KayGee, having purchased an interest in the catalog of “Mama Said Knock You Out” producer Marley Marl over the summer.