The music business is a fickle beast.
De La Soul are legends in the game. Their vast discography spans across nine studio albums, released between 1989 and 2016. Unfortunately, the majority of their catalog did not fare well in the jump to the "Streaming Era." As of this writing, only 2016's and the Anonymous Nobody... and 2004's The Grind Date are available on all major streaming services. Luckily for fans, it would appear that change is underway. Posdnuos, Dave and DJ Maseo recently confirmed that their entire discography will be arriving on streaming platforms, though the victory is somewhat of a pyrrhic one.
Sadly, the legendary trio will not be seeing the majority of the royalties. Citing a lack of negotiation decorum, their label Tommy Boy seems to be content with withholding the lion's share. As it shakes out, De La will be rewarded with ten percent of all total royalties. "Uh oh," they write, in a foreboding statement. De La Soul hit Sway In The Morning to clear the air about the process, revealing some of the hurdles they had to face.
"We're completely missing a significant part of this digital era because of all the infractions that exist with the back catalog," explains Maseo. "Now fast forward to 2019, Tommy Boy has been able to acquire the catalog back [from Warner Bros], but there's still some infractions around the catalog for the release, things that we're sure that still aren't cleared that might have more potential issues now dealing with the new medium. Also, for what's on the table for De La is unfavorable."
In this day and age, the idea that music industry higher-ups can still brazenly lord over the artists they depend on is abhorrent. Hopefully, De La Soul can find themselves in a more favorable situation. Keep your heads up, boys.