Snoop Dogg Returns Death Row Catalog to Streaming Services
Classic albums like Doggystyle and All Eyez on Me are back following the sale of a stake in Death Row to Larry Jackson's new music company gamma.
Snoop Dogg kept his word. Less than a month after pledging to bring the Death Row Records catalog back to traditional streaming services “real soon,” the rapper-entrepreneur did just that on Thursday night (March 9). “Yessir. Heard you,” he tweeted along with a six-second hype clip. “Death Row Records catalog is back streaming everywhere tonight.”
Death Row released Snoop Dogg’s first two albums: the seven-times platinum Doggystyle in 1993 and the two-times platinum Tha Doggfather in 1996. Other album releases now back on Spotify, Apple Music and other services include 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me and The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, as well as the label’s comprehensive Greatest Hits album, Lady of Rage’s Necessary Roughness and Kurupt’s Against the Grain, among many others.
Also available to stream for the first time are releases by Death Row artists including Danny Boy and the late Jewell, affectionately called the “First Lady of Death Row” for her contributions on numerous hits including “Let Me Ride,” “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” and “Gin and Juice.”
The label’s other stone-cold classic, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, returned to DSPs in early February after it was reunited with Interscope Records following Dre’s sale of his music assets to UMG and Shamrock Holdings for an estimated $200 million.
Snoop (real name Calvin Broadus) acquired the Death Row catalog and brand, along with its trademark, name and logo, from MNRK Music Group in February 2022, and almost immediately pulled the legendary catalog off streaming services, telling REVOLT it was because “those platforms don’t pay.” At the time of the acquisition — terms were not disclosed — Snoop said he wanted to create a Death Row app to host the music and operate it as an “NFT label.”
The Snoop-led renaissance of Death Row began with the February 2022 release of BODR (Bacc On Death Row), his third studio album on the label and 19th overall. In addition to being serviced on traditional streamers, he also made it available in the form of 25,000 “Stash Box” NFTs — with each going for $5,000 apiece — in a partnership with blockchain gaming platform Gala Games. He later claimed the album made $21 million in the metaverse on its first day of release.
In December, Snoop quietly sold a stake in the label’s catalog to gamma, a new full-service music company led by former Apple Music executive Larry Jackson. Their first course of action was to release the catalog — without mentioning their partnership — exclusively on TikTok to give fans the ability to create their own videos using clips from classic albums like Doggystyle. The deal was touted as the “first-ever catalog reissue to release exclusively through SoundOn,” the distribution and marketing service that TikTok launched in 2022.
“Since I took Death Row off streaming almost a year ago, not a day goes by without people asking me to put it back up,” Snoop said at the time of the TikTok announcement.
Founded in 1992 by Dr. Dre, Suge Knight, The D.O.C. and Dick Griffey, Death Row’s fortunes began to falter late in that decade following the murder of 2Pac, the departures of Dre and Snoop and the imprisonment of Knight. In 2006, the label declared bankruptcy following a slew of legal troubles, including a lawsuit brought by “silent” Death Row co-founder Lydia Harris that resulted in a $107 million judgment being awarded in Harris’ favor.
Death Row was eventually sold to Toronto-based development company WIDEawake Entertainment Group at auction for $18 million in 2009. When WIDEawake declared bankruptcy in 2012, Death Row was acquired by eOne (then known as Entertainment One). In 2019, eOne was acquired by Hasbro. Last April, Blackstone purchased eOne Music (which was rebranded as MNRK Music Group in September) for $385 million. The acquisition included Death Row, which was then sold to Snoop.