Music

Questlove Is Furious With Tommy Boy Records For Giving De La Soul Pitifully Small Streaming Royalties

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Pioneering rap trio De La Soul‘s classic catalog is finally coming to streaming services, but not everyone is happy about it. Namely, the members of De La called out their label on Instagram, saying that Tommy Boy Records — who owns the rights to all of their albums from 3 Feet High And Rising to AOI: Bionix, their first through sixth albums — is unfairly withholding profits according to the terms of a 30-year-old contract. Now, more artists are siding with the rap veterans, including The Roots drummer Questlove, who posted a request to boycott the catalogs to Instagram today.

“I hate that it has come to this,” wrote Quest in the caption. ” But there is no ‘if I have to choose a side?'” He went on to praise De La’s contribution to the hip-hop landscape and admit that he has been waiting for their albums to finally hit streaming as long as any of their most hardcore fans, but that he refuses to support as long as De La is receiving what they see as an unfair split of the proceeds.

.@WeAreDeLaSoul gave me and millions of music lovers LIFE. I been hoping and wishing and praying for their back catalogue to be made available on digital media FOREVER—-but not like this @tommyboyrecords. This narrative has been going on since the blues, since jazz, since rock n roll, since disco, since soul——-I’m proud of De La for using their voice. Let’s fix this. For the greater good. Let’s be respectful and fair. 90% to the label & 10% to the artist is not fair. Normal protocol is just to ??‍♂️ accept that’s how it is nowadays. We can change that. Change starts now. As much as it pains me to not cop 10 of those issues each and share all their timeless work of genius to a generation that has no clue—-join me in standing w De La Soul in this #TommyBOYCOTT. Do y’all understand I been waiting DECADES to finally listen to their awe inspiring work in the car, on lunch break, in the gym, just chillin? I can’t do that to them. Until you do right by the soul? There is no convo.

For the record, the 90/10 split has been more or less industry standard for decades. However, a growing number of artists have begun to call out this practice, as they feel it enriches labels while artists do most of the work and produce the music that fuels the recording industry’s profits in the first place, with the recently-passed Music Modernization Act seeking to address the disparity. Meek Mill tweeted just last week that “All records labels should start letting artist have ownership or you will be viewed as a slave master! Make it even for both sides the ones putting money up and the creator!!! Is even too much?” Meanwhile, artists like Nipsey Hussle and Jay-Z have long advocated for artists’ ownership of their publishing rights, while Kanye West is suing his own label to be released from his contract.

De La Soul is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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