was bought out by Warner Music Group the two companies announced on Monday.
On Friday, employee's in New York City were let go and the U.K. office was closed
completely. The deal, which was worth an estimated $8-9 million dollars, ended
a 15 year relationship with the label and gives AOL Time Warner control over
a back catalog that includes The Force MD's, Everlast, De La Soul, Afrika Bambaataa,
Queen Latifah and Naughty By Nature among others. Warner also structured the
deal to retain the rights for future releases by at least a dozen Tommy Boy
artists, including De La Soul, who have had an often publicized ongoing dispute
with the label.
Tom Silverman, the founder of the label, will
continue with a roster of nine artists, including The Sneaker Pimps.The
timing of the deal may be good for Warner, who has been trying to increase their
market share in the record business, as Warner Music has been one of the worst
performing units of AOL Time Warner.
"It's just really sad" said one of
the top Mixshow promoters, Al Lindstrom. Lindstrom worked at Tommy Boy for two
years. "They are leaving behind a great legacy." When asked what contributed
to the demise, Lindstrom shared his opinion. "The company was stuck in
an '80's mentality," he said."They didn't realize the talented staff
that they had. There were some dedicated and loyal people there, but it was
time for change. There was a lot of old blood and not enough listening to the
"There are peaks and troughs in any industry,"
Silverman told Reuters. "It's true this was not the most fortuitous time
for us. But I'm excited that I get to recreate myself with a fresh slate."
Silverman expressed excitement about returning
to indie status. "Major labels can't turn a profit unless an album sells
a million copies," he continued. "Unless you cut your staff and marketing
costs, there's no way to lower that break even number."
"In my business, I can be profitable without
having any records sell over 150,000 units," he added. "I can take
more risks and be more creative. You can't take chances if you need to sell
a million records."
Silverman also hinted to AllHipHop.com that he
was possibly exiting the hip-hop game. Silverman questioned the sluggish sales
of albums despite the enormous amount of airplay records were receiving.