Last year, thriving independent eOne – part of a parent company bearing the same name comprising films, TV, and family brands – made global headlines when it was acquired by toy giant Hasbro for the small matter of a $3.8 billion all-cash deal.
It wasn’t just the eye-watering price tag that raised eyebrows. After all, eOne was a company that acquired Death Row Records’ iconic catalogue, including classic albums by Dr Dre, 2Pac and Snoop Doggy Dogg, in 2013.
Headlines were quick to poke fun at the incongruity of the one-time home of gangster rap sharing a roof with My Little Pony. The same headlines, incidentally, ignored the fact that Death Row was already shoulder-to-shoulder with atypical gangsters like Peppa Pig at eOne.
But in 2020, the question of whether Death Row Records will still have a home on eOne after the Hasbro acquisition has been answered.
“We’re focused on growth and growing the business and finding more opportunity,” Chris Taylor, global president, music & live, at eOne told Music Week. “It’s not our MO to sell.”
Indeed, one of eOne’s biggest stories in 2020 involved Death Row when Dr Dre’s classic album The Chronic was finally made available on all streaming services after a long stint as an Apple Music exclusive.
There’s still some unreleased recordings that we’ll get to when it comes to the Mount Rushmore of Death Row: Dr Dre, 2Pac and Snoop Dogg
Chris Taylor, eOne
“We have a good working relationship with Dr Dre and his legal team,” said Taylor. “Every three to six months, we would say, ‘Hey, can we open the door on this discussion?’ And then eventually they opened the door for us to have a discussion about putting it on all of these other platforms. And I think it’s a recognition on his part that if it’s not there on Spotify, how is a 20-year-old kid going to be able to listen to this record? [The Chronic] is like the early recordings of The Beatles, Chuck Berry or the Rolling Stones – this is an iconic recording that every kid, if they’re doing a deep dive on the history of hip-hop, and the importance of Dr Dre, has to be able to listen to.”
The question remains, however: what can still be done with the Death Row catalogue?
“We have people at our company that are graphically familiar with the contents in the vaults,” revealed Taylor. “There’s still some unreleased recordings that we’ll get to when it comes to the Mount Rushmore of Death Row: Dr. Dre, 2Pac and Snoop Dogg. That is always a collaborative, respectful conversation with all three of those camps about ideas and things we can do together. It wouldn’t be a plethora of unharvested material at this point, but there are still some recordings there. We have a couple of things coming up.”
For now, however, Taylor’s lips are sealed. Watch this space.
Subscribers can read the full eOne cover interview with Chris Taylor & Ted May here.