Tommy Boy Records

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  (Redirected from Tommy Boy Entertainment)
Tommy Boy Music
Tommy Boy Logo.jpg
Parent company Warner Music Group
Founded 1981
Founder Tom Silverman
Status Active
Country of origin United States
Location New York, New York

Tommy Boy Music is an American independent record label founded in 1981 by Tom Silverman. The label is credited with launching the music careers of Queen Latifah, Afrika Bambaataa, Digital Underground, De La Soul, House of Pain, and Naughty By Nature.[1] Tommy Boy is also credited with introducing genres such as EDM, Latin freestyle, and Latin hip hop to mainstream audiences.[2]


Tom Silverman created Tommy Boy Music in 1981 in his New York City apartment with a $5,000 loan from his parents. The label was an outgrowth of Silverman's Dance Music Report bi-weekly publication, which spanned 14 years, beginning in September 1978.[3]

1986-2002: Partnership with Warner Music Group

In 1986, Warner Bros. Records entered into a partnership with Tommy Boy and acquired half of the label, though the label was distributed independently and marketed and promoted its music independently. Warner allowed the label to use independent distribution as it saw fit, with the option to distribute artists through the major-label channel through Warner Bros. Records.[citation needed]

The label had several joint ventures in the mid 1990's including Penalty Recordings,[4] Stepsun,[5] Beyond,[6] and Ignition.[7] The label also had deals with labels such as Timber Records and distribution deals with Outcaste Records[8] and 75 Ark.[9]

In 1997, Tommy Boy launched an imprint label called Upaya to pursue the growing interest in spirituality and spiritual/world music.[10][11] The imprint Tommy Boy Gospel was launched in 1998 under the direction of Max Seigel and Marvie Wright.[12] That same year, the imprints Tommy Boy Black Label,[13] which specialized in underground hip hop music, and Tommy Boy Silver Label,[14] which specialized in dance music, were founded.

In 2002 as part of Warner, Tommy Boy formed Tommy Boy Films, a new TV and film division with Dubtitled Entertainment owner, Michael "Mic" Neumann,[15] while also giving independent distribution to sister imprints that already had label deals with WEA, including American Recordings’ Ill Labels, Mute Records’ NovaMute, and Cold Chillin’s’ Livin’ Large.[16]


In 2002, Tommy Boy became independent again after it ended its joint venture with Warner Bros.[17] Warner acquired the half of the company which it did not own, the master tapes released until that time became property of Warner Music. The then-current Tommy Boy artists were shopped to the various WEA labels, the TV and film divisions were merged with the Tommy Boy music division and the resulting company was redubbed Tommy Boy Entertainment LLC, while the classic trademark remained with Silverman. The label then licensed its trademark to Warner for use on its reissues through Rhino/Atlantic Records.

Brand image

The Tommy Boy logo was originally designed in 1982 by Steven Miglio and redesigned in 1989 by Eric Haze. The logo was named to Complex's list of The 50 Greatest Rap Logos at number nine.[18]

In the late 1980s, Tommy Boy distributed Carhartt jackets embroidered with its logo for promotional uses, shortly before marketing its own merchandise line to consumers called Tommy Boy Gear.[19][20] The label is also credited as the first to use lanyards as promotional items.[21]



  1. ^ Reid, Shaheem. "'Hip-Hop Is History': Tommy Boy Records Unloads Rap Acts". MTV News. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  2. ^ "2015 Partners - New Music Seminar". New Music Seminar. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  3. ^ "In the City of New York". In the City of New York. 23 July 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  4. ^ Reynolds, J.R. (4 November 1995). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  5. ^ Charnas, Dan (1 November 2011). "The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop". Penguin. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  6. ^ "HITS Daily Double : Rumor Mill - A TALE OF THREE LABELS". HITS Daily Double. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  7. ^ Knopper, Steve (20 June 1998). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  8. ^ "2011 Songwriter's Market". Writer's Digest Books. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  9. ^ "75 Ark". Discogs. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  10. ^ Smith, Shawnee (29 November 1997). "Billboard". Google Books. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  11. ^ Strauss, Neil (27 June 1996). "The Pop Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  12. ^ Collins, Lisa (30 June 2001). "Billboard". Google Books. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  13. ^ "CMJ New Music Report". Google Books. CMJ Network, Inc. 10 April 2000. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  14. ^ Flick, Larry (11 April 1998). "Billboard". Google Books. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  15. ^ Kipnis, Jill (October 19, 2002). Tommy Boy Branches Out With Film/TV Division. Billboard Magazine. Page 6.
  16. ^ Nathan, David (4 July 1992). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  17. ^ "Tommy Boy Artists Dance Again". Billboard. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  18. ^ Mao, Chairman; Sen, Raka. "The 50 Greatest Rap Logos 9. Tommy Boy Records". Complex. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  19. ^ "Tom Silverman". Midem. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 
  20. ^ Marriott, Michel (29 November 1992). "THING; The Carhartt Jacket". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 
  21. ^ Wartofsky, Alona (29 July 1996). "ONLY THE HIPPEST HAVE KEY RINGS AROUND THE COLLAR". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Company reference in Hoover's
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