Excellent news for hip-hop fans: De La Soul’s classic albums are finally being released digitally. Less-excellent news: the pioneering trio appear to have issues with the royalty splits involved with their label.
“Dear Fans… The music WILL be released digitally. After 30 long years of good music and paying their debt to Hip Hop, De La Soul unfortunately, will not taste the fruit of their labor. Your purchases will roughly go 90% Tommy Boy, 10% De La,” wrote De La Soul on Instagram, adding a hashtag #thephantom2milliondollardebt for good measure.
In the accompanying comment, the band encouraged fans to buy two other albums: 2004’s ‘The Grind Date’ and 2016’s ‘And the Anonymous Nobody’ instead.
We should stress: at this point, we’ve only heard one side of this issue: Tommy Boy has yet to comment. Given the sample-heavy nature of De La Soul’s classic catalogue, details of the clearances involved and how they play in to the royalties split have not been revealed. The band made their back catalogue available for free, briefly, in 2014 to celebrate their 25th anniversary.