Photo: Matti Hillig

Is De La Soul’s Music Finally Being Streamed?

STOP US IF you’ve heard this one before: De La Soul’s back catalog will soon be available on streaming services. Well this time, it appears it’ll actually happen, with the legendary hip-hop trio announcing that their music will finally hit the digital realm on March 3. 

De La Soul started teasing the news on social media and their website. A post on Facebook featured an image that read simply “De La Soul streaming on 3/3/23.” Meanwhile, on Instagram, the group shared a video of a giant billboard — in conjunction with Amazon Music — emblazoned with, “Alexa, what’s the magic number.”

A rep for De La Soul did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for further comment.

De La Soul’s back catalog has been stuck in digital purgatory for years thanks to various legal issues. Chief among them: The myriad uncleared samples that defined the sound of De La Soul’s classic records, but made them a legal minefield when it came to making them available digitally. In 2014, De La Soul decided to bypass official channels and simply make their music available for free for a brief period of time since it was about all they could do. 

For several years as well, the rights to the band’s catalog were tangled up in major label red tape from their time at Warner Bros. Records. In 2019, that seemed to get cleared away when De La Soul’s first label, Tommy Boy, regained control of the trio’s catalog — but negotiations over the streaming rights were fraught, ultimately leading De La Soul to cut ties with Tommy Boybefore any music was made available online.

In June 2021, things seemed possible once more when the music rights company, Reservoir Media, acquired Tommy Boy. A couple months later, De La Soul announced on Instagram Live that they would try to have their music on streaming platforms by the end of the year. Though it took a little longer than that, it appears that effort will finally materialize in just a few months. 

“We’re trying to work hard and diligently along with the good folks at Reservoir to get this done. We sat down and we got it done pretty quick, actually,” Trugoy the Dove said at the time. “It was kind of impressive how fast we got it done, maybe in two weeks time tops… Totally different approach than what was happening with Tommy Boy and I’m not speaking to bash [founder] Tom Silverman or Tommy Boy in any way, but we are happy that that chapter is over and done with.”

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Author: Saul Goode

Photo: Matti Hillig