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Tom Silverman (Tommy Boy Entertainment) interviewed by Lenny Fontana for True House Stories # 094

In this episode on True House Stories, watch Tom Silverman share his humble beginnings from his time at college to becoming The Musical Director of the radio station up in Maine and making his way down back to New York City to collect all the promos from the record labels.

When he graduated from school with his degree, he tried to land a job in his trained profession but destiny had another road for him. Here he talks about starting Dance Music Report with a $5,000.00 loan and learning his way through the disco business and as well helping to shape the next parts of the music business through his column.

Tom Silverman explains different parts of the disco business and what led him to creating the New Music Seminar. Along the same time he begins to work out how to run a record label while helping out the owners of Importe 12.

While he is writing his columns for Dance Music Report, he learns about a hip hop dj that was playing this eclectic sound of funk and rock all mixed up in The Bronx Area. He pays a visit to meet DJ Afrika Bambatta, and the rest is history. Tom loved what he witnessed and asked Afrika if he would like to make a record from all the tracks that you are playing in your set.

At that precious moment Tommy Boy Records was created. We stopped the interview early as Tom promised he would come back and speak more about his life in the music industry. When he returns he would like to have all the topics the audience would like to hear about when he returns once again for another sit down as this will be scheduled soon.

Tom Silverman (Tommy Boy Entertainment) YouTube Video Part 1

Tom Silverman (Tommy Boy Entertainment) YouTube Video Part 2

Tom Silverman (Tommy Boy Entertainment) Banner

Biography Tom Silverman (Tommy Boy Entertainment)

Tom is the founder of Tommy Boy Entertainment and has served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since 1981.  He has over 44 years experience in the dance, hip-hop, urban, alternative, dance, rock, and gospel music markets.  In 1978 he founded Dance Music Report, the preeminent newsletter for DJs for over 15 years. Tom was a founder of the legendary New Music Seminar, the world’s seminal music industry convention through the 80’s.
He re-launched the New Music Seminar in 2009 to introduce the new paradigm for an emerging new music business.

He founded Tommy Boy Entertainment in 1981, the original pioneer label in the hip hop movement with artists such as Afrika Bambaattaa, De La Soul, Digital Underground, Queen Latifah, Naughty by Nature, House of Pain, and Coolio. Tommy Boy led the Electronic Dance movement with Information Society, 808 State, LFO and Coldcut and later launched the careers of Bob Sinclar and Gucci Mane.

In 2017, Silverman reacquired the original Tommy Boy catalog from the Warner Music Group and tripled its revenues in four years before selling to Reservoir Media in 2021. He continues to run Tommy Boy Entertainment and controls the Tommy Boy brand and logo.

Mr. Silverman serves on the board of RIAA. He has served for many years on the board of American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), Merlin, Sound Exchange, NAIRD/AFIM board, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Dance Music Hall of Fame, as well as the NARM Manufacturer’s Advisory Board. Tom was the recipient of the 2013 A2iM Lifetime Achievement Award, NARM Independent Spirit Award 2010, NARAS Heroes Award in 2000. He received his bachelors’ degree in Environmental Studies from Colby College and studied Environmental Earth Science at Western Michigan University.

Tommy Boy Entertainment

Legendary Hip Hop & Electronic label Tommy Boy Entertainment founded in NYC in 1981 by Tom Silverman. The label is credited with launching the careers of notable Hip Hop legends Afrika Bambaataa, Queen Latifah, House of Pain, De La Soul, and Naughty By Nature. 

In the late 80’s Tommy Boy introduced EDM to mainstream audiences with releases from LFO, Coldcut, and 808 State and is credited with opening the door at Top 40 radio in America again for DJ’s with the success of Bob Sinclar’s “World Hold On” in 2006.

Known for fusing Electronic music with Hip Hop since its early days, Tommy Boy Entertainment helped to establish Latin Freestyle and Latin Hip Hop genres with the release of multiple singles and albums from TKA, K7, and Information Society.

In 1989, the label became the first label to market its own merch line to mainstream consumers via its Tommy Boy Gear line, partnering with brands like Stussy and Carhartt. Tommy Boy Entertainment continues to license its logo to designers and retailers worldwide including Maharishi and Urban Outfitters.