Tommy Boy Entertainment

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Tommy Boy Entertainment
Tommy Boy Logo.jpg
Founded 1981
Founder Tom Silverman
Status Active
Distributor(s) Self-distributed (1981–1985; 2002–present)
Warner Bros. Records (1985–2002)
Genre Hip hop, R&B, post-disco, Latin freestyle, dance music
Country of origin US
Location New York, New York

Tommy Boy Entertainment (formerly known as Tommy Boy Records) is an American independent record label started in 1981 by Tom Silverman.


The Tommy Boy label was an outgrowth of Tom Silverman's Disco News bi-weekly publication (later titled Dance Music Report), that spanned 14 years, beginning in September 1978. In 1981, Tom Silverman borrowed $5,000 from his parents to officially start the label out of his apartment. In 1985, Warner Bros. Records bought 50% of the label, eventually buying all of it in 1990., and Silverman and Monica Lynch became Vice Presidents of Warner. The new parent allowed Tommy Boy to use independent distribution as it saw fit, with the option to put artists through the major-label channel of Warner Bros. Records or its sister label Reprise Records. Silverman bought 50% back from Warner Bros. in 1995. That same year, the first incarnation of Penalty Recordings, a joint venture with Neil Levine, was created, but it was later absorbed entirely by Tommy Boy. The imprint Tommy Boy Gospel was launched in 1998 under the direction of Max Siegel along with Marvie Wright and the Tommy Boy Black Label (specializing in underground hip hop music) and the Tommy Boy Silver Label (specializing in dance music). Tommy Boy, as part of Warner, also provided independent distribution to imprints that had their own label deals with WEA as well, including American Recordings’ Ill Labels, Mute Records’ NovaMute, and Cold Chillin' Records’ Livin’ Large. 75 Ark Records, Timber Records, StepSun Entertainment, and Outcaste Records had distribution deals with the label as well.

In January 2002, Tommy Boy became independent again because Warner wanted larger unit sales, which caused Silverman to purchase the remaining 50% of the label that he did not own. The master tapes released until that time became property of Warner Music, and the then-current Tommy Boy artists were shopped to the various WEA labels, while the trademark remained with Silverman, and the company was redubbed Tommy Boy Entertainment LLC. The label then licensed its trademark to WEA for use on its reissues through Rhino/Atlantic Records and created Tommy Boy Films LLC with Michael "Mic" Neumann.[1]

Notable Acts[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Kipnis, Jill (October 19, 2002). Tommy Boy Branches Out With Film/TV Division. Billboard Magazine. Page 6.