Motown is an American record company founded by Berry Gordy, Jr. on January 12, 1959 in Detroit, Michigan, in the United States as Tamla Records, and was incorporated as "Motown Record Corporaton" on April 14, 1960. The name, a portmanteau of motor and town, is also a nickname for Detroit. Motown played an important role in the racial integration of popular music by achieving a crossover success. In the 1960s, Motown and its subsidiaries were the most successful proponents of what came to be known as "The Motown Sound", a style of soul music with a distinct pop influence. During the 1960s, Motown achieved spectacular success for a small record company: 79 records in the Billboard Top Ten between 1960 and 1969.
In order to avoid accusations of payola should DJs play too many records from one label, Gordy formed Motown Records as a second label in 1959. The two labels featured the same writers, producers and artists.
Many more subsidiary labels were established later under the umbrella of the Motown parent company, including Gordy Records, Soul Records and VIP Records; in reality the Motown Record Corporation controlled all of these labels. Most of the distinctions between Motown labels were largely arbitrary, with the same writers, producers and musicians working on all the major subsidiaries, and artists were often shuffled between labels for internal marketing reasons. All of these records are usually considered to be "Motown", regardless of whether they actually appeared on the Motown Records label itself.
Gordy relocated Motown to Los Angeles in 1972, and there it remained an independent company until June 28, 1988, when Gordy sold the company to MCA and Boston Ventures (which took over full ownership of Motown in 1991), then to PolyGram in 1994, before being sold again to MCA Records' successor Universal Music Group, when it acquired The PolyGram Label Group. In 2011, Motown was reactivated under The Island Def Jam Music Group division of...
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