After months of speculation, the joint venture between Tommy Boy Records and the Warner Music Group (WMG) came to an end March 1. In the agreement, WMG is the proud owner of Tommy Boy’s catalog and publishing, as well as approximately one dozen artists from Tommy Boy’s roster. De La Soul and Handsome Boy Modeling School are moving on to Elektra, while Everlast and Coo Coo Cal are headed to Warner Bros.
Acts like Amber, Junior Vasquez, Thunderpuss, Victor Calderone, Sneaker Pimps, and Masters At Work — all of which WMG passed on — will follow label founder Tom Silverman to his new company, Tommy Boy Entertainment (TBE), which recently signed house act Murk to the label.
According to Silverman, WMG let Tommy Boy’s entire staff go March 1, but “a transition team of about 15 people will keep things running smoothly for the next few weeks at the new company.” When the dust settles, Silverman says TBE will have a full-time staff of about 18, comprising “fresh blood” and holdovers from the existing staff.
“We’re going to return to the foundation that Tommy Boy built its reputation on,” Silverman explains of TBE, which will maintain its independent distribution system. “We’ll be investing in what’s hot and new in dance/electronic, an area of music that the majors just don’t give a s*** about. Majors need million-sellers, while we can make a nice profit from records that sell 125,000 copies.”
On March 19, singles-driven imprint Tommy Boy Silver Label — which Silverman retained in the agreement — issues Dolce’s hotly anticipated “Fire” and PPK’s European crossover smash “Resurrection.” TBE will release Thunderpuss’ beat-mixed compilation, “Barry Harris + Chris Cox Present Thunderpuss,” the same day, followed by Masters At Work’s “Our Time Is Coming,” and Junior Vasquez’s DJ-mixed set “Earth Music” April 9 and Sneaker Pimps’ “Blood Sport” April 23. Silverman confirms that he has licensed both “Our Time Is Coming” and “Blood Sport” to numerous labels around the world.
“My enthusiasm for the music is at an all-time high, like during Tommy Boy’s first year,” Silverman enthuses. “It’s about the passion, where music meets the consumer — in their heart. At the end of the day, consumers vote with their dollars.”