In March of last year, following Snoop Dogg’s Death Row Records acquisition, works including Dr. Dre’s The Chronic were pulled from leading streaming services. Now, the roughly three-decade-old album has officially returned to Spotify, Apple Music, and other platforms.
Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records just recently took to social media to inform fans of The Chronic’s streaming-service return, having distributed the original release in 1992. Meanwhile, Spotify confirmed the news with a post of its own, and the famed 16-track effort (including music videos) has been uploaded to Dr. Dre’s official YouTube channel.
Interscope has touted the “re-release” as a celebration of the 30th anniversary of The Chronic, debuting for good measure a merchandise collection featuring $85 hoodies, cassettes ($20 each), vinyl ($38 per unit), and more. While the items are currently on sale, buyers will have to wait until late April for The Chronic vinyl, cassettes, and even CDs to begin shipping, according to their descriptions.
At the time of this writing, Death Row Records (which Snoop Dogg bought, minus certain underlying music rights, in Q1 2022) doesn’t appear to have commented publicly on the news. Snoop Dogg himself has dedicated the majority of his recent social media posts to promoting his wine and teasing forthcoming collaborations.
But in remarks delivered as part of a formal release, Dr. Dre (who reportedly regained the rights to The Chronic from Death Row at 2023’s start) described the development as “a full circle moment.” Additionally, Interscope Geffen A&M execs heaped praise upon the rapper and “one of the most important albums of all time.”
“Dre’s solo career all started with the The [sic] Chronic, one of the most celebrated recordings of all time,” Interscope Geffen A&M vice chairman Steve Berman said in part. “To have this album at Interscope once again where we work with Dre and his amazing team at Aftermath day in and day out is incredibly gratifying for me personally and all of us at Interscope.”
And in a statement of his own, chairman John Janick communicated: “From my first day at Interscope the significance of Dr. Dre as a foundational artist at this label was incredibly important to me. We take our responsibility to Dre and his amazing body of work very seriously and we are honored to work closely with him on this re-release of one of the most important albums of all time.”
Also worth mentioning is that the streaming return of The Chronic arrives only weeks after Shamrock Holdings and Universal Music Group reportedly purchased Dr. Dre’s catalog rights (in separate deals) for north of $200 million.
Notwithstanding Interscope’s just-revealed involvement with The Chronic re-release as well as Janick’s comments about “our responsibility to Dre and his amazing body of work,” the companies have yet to confirm the acquisitions’ ownership details – and the precise music IP at hand – in a general release.