De La Soul gave its fans a pretty great Valentine’s Day present on Friday. Via a website, the pioneering hip-hop group gave away its entire six-album catalog, asking only for downloaders’ email addresses in return.
Free download promotions aren’t groundbreaking these days, but they’re still pretty cool. And De La Soul’s move was extra cool, because they were giving away something you couldn’t get — legally, at least — any other way: Almost all of the band’s music has been AWOL from download stores like iTunes and subscription services like Spotify, due to an odd licensing tangle involving Warner Music Group, the band’s old label.*
So how did De La Soul get the rights to give away music you can’t buy anywhere on the Web?