Motown Records is an American record label, founded by Berry Gordy Jr. as Tamla Records In January 1959 and incorporated as Motown Record Corporation In April 1960. Its name, a portmanteau of motor and town, has become a nickname for Detroit, where the label was originally headquartered.
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 pop influence. 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 the same year over pay disputes, Gordy relocated Motown to Los Angeles, California. Motown expanded into film and television production, remaining an independent company until 1994, when it was sold to PolyGram and then MCA Records’ successor Universal Music Group when it acquired PolyGram in 1999.
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. 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. In 2018, Motown was inducted into Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame class at the Charles H. Wright Museum.
You’ll hear many classic Motown hits between 6am and 6pm Monday to Friday, including Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, The Supremes, Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Ruffin and The Jackson 5 – just some of the Motown artists you’ll hear on Coast FM – Classic Hits.