Music Updates

Reservoir Acquires Tommy Boy Music, Label Home of Hip-Hop Legends

Founded in 1981 by Tom Silverman in New York City, Tommy Boy Music spent the bulk of its early years in partnership with Warner Music before going independent again in 2002. Other artists who have released music on Tommy Boy over the decades include Naughty by Nature, Everlast, Biz Markie, Gucci Mane, Digital Underground and others. The label has also delved into electronic music through releases by LFO and Coldcut, among others, and Latin freestyle through releases by TKA and K7.

Silverman reacquired the rights to Tommy Boy Music in 2017, and later acquired the catalogs of Amherst Records, Harlem Music, and Halwill Music, which hold masters and publishing rights for a collection of ‘70s Soul, Disco, and Jazz artists.

“The Tommy Boy Music catalog represents the golden age of hip-hop and it holds an incredibly special place in my life,” said Faith Newman, Reservoir evp a&r and catalog development, when reached for comment by Billboard. “The first show I ever saw at The Roxy, when I was 16, was Planet Patrol and Afrika Bambaataa. Later, the music in this catalog inspired and influenced me in my formative years at Def Jam and Columbia Records. I am so looking forward to being a part of a musical legacy that has meant so much to me over the years.”

Reservoir was founded in 2007 and with this deal now represents over 32,000 master recordings.

The acquisition of Tommy Boy adds to Reservoir’s recorded music division; in 2019 it became a full-service music company when it purchased U.K.-based music company Blue Raincoat Music and its subsidiary Chrysalis Records.

Reservoir said it will continue to market the legendary catalog under the Tommy Boy name out of its NYC headquarters, with Newman in charge. International marketing and distribution of the catalog will be driven by Reservoir’s Chrysalis Records team in London.

The news follows Reservoir’s announcement that it will become publicly traded later this year. A reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Roth Acquisition II was announced April 14. According to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on April 15, Roth Acquisition II shareholders would hold 15.5% of Reservoir under the deal, while Reservoir’s current shareholders will retain 59.9% of the company’s 74 million shares after the merger. Anchor equity institutional investors will receive 20.3% of shares. And Roth CH Acquisition II sponsors Roth Capital and Craig-Hallum will receive 3.2%.

Reservoir posted revenue of $64 million in 2020, with 84% ($54 million) credited to the music publishing side of the business. Master recording royalties and other income streams generated the other $9 million.

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