Tommy Boy is a US label that was established in 1981 by Tom Silverman when the entrepreneurial trade mag publisher began releasing the best of the demos crossing his path. He struck gold with the label's revolutionary debut, Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force's Planet Rock. One of the only 12" singles ever to sell 600,000+ copies, it laid the foundation for the genre-defining house that Tommy built. Tommy Boy and its stable of stars led the way as the first wave of hip-hop's artistic translation of urban street culture became a mass-appeal phenomenon. With repeated high-charting crossover success, Tommy Boy earned almost 80 gold and platinum citations, and the label's groundbreaking grooves are essential pillars of hip-hop, as evidenced in this new collection of many of their greatest early tracks.
In 1985, Warner Bros. Records acquired 50% of the label and made Tom Silverman and Monica Lynch vice presidents of its new partner. However, Tommy Boy preferred to use independent distribution instead of the distribution channels owned by Warner Bros. Records' parent, Warner Music (then WEA Corp.). Five years later, Warner Bros. acquired the remaining 50% of the label. In 1995, following the controversy following the backlash against Warner Music’s gangsta artists, Silverman bought back 50% of his label. In February 2002, because Warner Music wanted larger unit sales, Tom Silverman bought back the remaining half of Tommy Boy and made it independent again. As part of the break-up, Warner Music was given first dibs to acquire the contracts of the artists signed to the label and became owner of the master recordings that Tommy Boy released until that date.
In 2017, Tommy Boy reacquired its catalogue, plus the catalogues of Brand Nubian, Grand Puba, and Club Nouveau, as a result of WEA divestments because of the latter’s purchase of Parlophone.
Historically, this label was not to be used on Discogs; releases bearing the Tommy Boy logo were only to be filed under either Tommy Boy Music or Tommy Boy Entertainment. Now, however, it is appropriate to use it as the label for releases bearing the Tommy Boy logo. Additional companies may still be entered.