De La Soul Fighting To Own Their Music At SXSW

De La Soul Takes Their Music Streaming Fight To Technology/Music Festival SXSW

“I am sure you have been following what we have been going through the past few weeks,” Trugoy the Dove aka Dave told an SXSW crowd last night. “We appreciate you all standing by us.”

Last month on their official Instagram account, the legendary New York hip hop group De La Soul posted a note to fans. It read: “Tommy Boy Records…Negotiations (or lack thereof) to release our catalog on all streaming platforms.. Uh oh.” They followed up that post with another, “Tommy Boy was not happy about our last post… we are not happy about releasing our catalog under such unbalanced, unfair terms.”

The group further clarified what they meant. They said that their music would be available for purchase and streaming, however, its creators would only receive 10 percent of all revenues and the rest would go to Tommy Boy, “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.”


Tidal joined in and decided not to stream De La Soul’s catalog until the dispute ends. This lead to Tommy Boy to postpone the catalogs streaming release.

Famed New Jersey MC, Joe Budden and host of Revolt’s State Of The Culture, broke down and said according to Ambrosia For Heads, ” Just listening [about this situation] is fuckin’ me up…“[It is] bad enough [De La Soul] was only getting 10% [of the revenue]. Bad enough we can re-purpose all of your shit in perpetuity. And now we’re at a point where we’re in a streaming era—see, this is the slap by the industry. We’re in the streaming era. These kids don’t even know who the f*ck De La Soul is, so there would be some work to be done even when you put it on the streaming service. And y’all don’t wanna pay ’em now?…If we’re not gonna take care of some of our forefathers or some of the people that preceded us, then what type of hope is that to leave to a ni**a like me?… To any of these fuckin’ kids,”

Halfway through last night’s StubHub’s Sound Stage set, Posdnous, aka Kevin Mercer, lead the audience of hundreds to say “Tom” or “TaaaaaaaaM.” A chant directed at Tommy Boy. And a clear sign they are still “negotiating.” 

The New York trio is not holding back. They want their fans to know what and who they are up against. They want music fans to understand the issue they and so many other performers face when it comes to streaming. In many ways, they are the legends who are not just fighting for themselves but every other artist. There was no question whose side the SXSW crowd was on.  They jammed to “A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturday,” “Ego Tripping,” and “Me Myself and I.”

De La Soul had home court advantage. SXSW is in many ways were music and technology converge. It was not lost on many in the crowd the importance of the movement De La Soul is apart of. Or the many in the VIP section who ignored the trio who may be profiting off  De La Soul.

The group made it clear they are not backing down and that perhaps the fight has only started.”We’re trying to claim and own something so that we can hand it down to our children and our families,” Posdonous told the crowd. “I hope y’all are down for the fights. That’s what it’s really about.”




“Always look to the positive,
and never drop your head,
for the water will engulf us,
if we do not dare to tread,
so let’s tread water.”
― De La Soul


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