25 Facts About Motown


Motown Records is an American record label owned by the Universal Music Group.

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Motown played an important role in the racial integration of popular music as an African American-owned label that achieved crossover success.

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Motown was the most successful soul music label, with a net worth of $61 million.

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In 2014 UMG announced the dissolution of Island Def Jam, and Motown relocated back to Los Angeles to operate under the Capitol Music Group, now operating out of the Capitol Tower.

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In 2018, Motown was inducted into Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in a ceremony held at the Charles H Wright Museum.

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Motown frequented Detroit's downtown nightclubs, and in the Flame Show Bar he met bar manager Al Green, who owned a music publishing company called Pearl Music and represented Detroit-based musician Jackie Wilson.

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Motown applied for copyrights on more than seventy songs before the end of 1959, including material used for the Miracles and Frances Burnett records, which were leased to Chess and Coral Records.

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Gordy's partner at the time, Raynoma Liles, played a key role in the early days of Motown, leading the company's first session group, The Rayber Voices, and overseeing Jobete.

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Motown had hired over 450 employees and had a gross income of $20 million by the end of 1966.

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Motown operated several labels in addition to the Tamla and Motown imprints.

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Many more Motown-owned labels released recordings in other genres, including Workshop Jazz Earl Washington Reflections and Earl Washington's All Stars, Mel-o-dy, and Rare Earth, which featured the band Rare Earth themselves.

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Under the slogan "The Sound of Young America", Motown's acts were enjoying widespread popularity among black and white audiences alike.

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Motown loosened its production rules, allowing some of its longtime artists the opportunity to write and produce more of their own material.

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Motown had established branch offices in both New York City and Los Angeles during the mid-1960s, and by 1969 had begun gradually moving more of its operations to Los Angeles.

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In 1991, Motown sued MCA to have its distribution deal with the company terminated, and began releasing its product through PolyGram.

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Notable artists on Universal Motown included Drake Bell, Ryan Leslie, Melanie Fiona, Kelly Rowland, Forever the Sickest Kids, The Veer Union and Four Year Strong.

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In late 2018, Motown began celebrating its 60th anniversary by reissuing numerous albums from their catalog.

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Motown UK launched in September 2020 under Universal UK's EMI Records division.

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Motown specialized in a type of soul music it referred to with the trademark "The Motown Sound".

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Motown producers believed steadfastly in the "KISS principle".

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Style created by the Motown musicians was a major influence on several non-Motown artists of the mid-1960s, such as Dusty Springfield and the Foundations.

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The band's career and work is chronicled in the 2002 documentary film Standing in the Shadows of Motown, which publicised the fact that these musicians "played on more number-one records than The Beatles, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, and The Beach Boys combined".

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Much of the Motown Sound came from the use of overdubbed and duplicated instrumentation.

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The acts on the Motown label were fastidiously groomed, dressed and choreographed for live performances.

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Motown artists were advised that their breakthrough into the white popular music market made them ambassadors for other African-American artists seeking broad market acceptance, and that they should think, act, walk and talk like royalty, so as to alter the less-than-dignified image commonly held of black musicians by white Americans in that era.

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