Motown

Motown Records is an American record label owned by the Universal Music Group. It was founded by Berry Gordy Jr. as Tamla Records on January 12, 1959,[2][3] and incorporated as Motown Record Corporation on April 14, 1960.[4] Its name, a portmanteau of motor and town, has become a nickname for Detroit, where the label was originally headquartered.

Motown Records
Parent companyUniversal Music Group
FoundedJanuary 12, 1959; 62 years ago (1959-01-12)
FounderBerry Gordy Jr.
Distributor(s)Capitol Music Group
(US)
EMI Records
(UK)
Universal Music Group
(worldwide)
GenreVarious
Country of originUnited States
LocationLos Angeles, California[1]
Official websitewww.motownrecords.com

Motown played an important role in the racial integration of popular music as an African American-owned label that achieved crossover success. In the 1960s, Motown and its subsidiary labels (including Tamla Motown, the brand used outside the US) were the most successful proponents of the Motown sound, a style of soul music with a mainstream pop appeal. Motown was the most successful soul music label, with a net worth of $61 million. During the 1960s, Motown achieved 79 records in the top-ten of the Billboard Hot 100 between 1960 and 1969.

Following the events of the Detroit Riots of 1967, and the loss of key songwriting/production team Holland–Dozier–Holland that year over pay disputes, Gordy moved Motown to Los Angeles, California. Motown expanded into film and television production.

It was an independent company until MCA Records bought it in 1988. PolyGram purchased the label from MCA in 1993, followed by MCA successor Universal Music Group, which acquired PolyGram in 1999.[2]

Motown spent much of the 2000s headquartered in New York City as a part of the UMG subsidiaries Universal Motown and Universal Motown Republic Group. From 2011 to 2014, it was a part of The Island Def Jam Music Group division of Universal Music.[5][6][7] In 2014, however, 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.[1] In 2018, Motown was inducted into Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in a ceremony held at the Charles H. Wright Museum.[8]