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Reservoir acquires Tommy Boy

By | Published on Monday 7 June 2021

Tommy Boy

Always acquisitive music rights firm Reservoir has acquired legendary hip hop record label Tommy Boy Music in a deal reportedly worth $100 million. It brings a catalogue to Reservoir’s recordings division that includes Coolio’s ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’, House Of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’, and Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force’s ‘Planet Rock’.

Founded in 1981 by Tom Silverman, Tommy Boy was influential in the burgeoning hip hop scene, and went on to work with artists including Queen Latifa, Naughty By Nature, De La Soul and more, working in partnership with Warner Music throughout the late 1980s and 1990s before coming fully independent again in 2002. Along the way it also worked with electronic artists, bringing the likes of LFO, Coldcut and 808 State to the US.

The deal may bring to an end a dispute between the label and one of its best known acts, De La Soul, which has meant that the group’s classic albums have been unavailable on streaming services. A rep for Reservoir told Variety: “We have already reached out to De La Soul and will work together to the bring the catalogue and the music back to the fans”.

In a possibly related post on Instagram, De La Soul said on Saturday that they “woke up feeling a greater sense of peace of mind”. So, we’ll see if that means the longstanding deadlock is about to be lifted.

As well as the core Tommy Boy catalogue, the deal also includes the catalogues of Amherst Records, Harlem Music and Halwill Music, which together include recording and publishing rights in a variety of 70s soul, disco and jazz music.

Joining Chrysalis Records – which was acquired by Reservoir in 2019 – Tommy Boy will be run out of its new parent company’s New York office, overseen by Reservoir EVP Faith Newman.

The deal comes as Reservoir prepares to list on the Nasdaq stock exchange.