A Night of Motown
Motown is both a style of music and an American record company. The record company was founded by Berry Gordy, Jr. as Tamla Records on January 12, 1959, and incorporated as Motown Record Corporation on April 14, 1960, inDetroit, Michigan. The name, a portmanteau of motor and town, has also become a nickname for Detroit. Motown played an important role in the racial integration of popular music as an African American-owned record label that achieved significant 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 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 Top Ten of the Billboard Hot 100 record chart between 1960 and 1969.
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). Motown was then sold to PolyGram in 1994, before being sold again to MCA Records' successor, Universal Music Group, when it acquired PolyGram in 1999.
Motown spent much of the 2000s as a part of the Universal Music subsidiaries Universal Motown and Universal Motown Republic Group, and headquartered in New York City. From 2011 to 2014, Motown was a part of The Island Def Jam Music Group division of Universal Music. On April 1, 2014, Universal Music Group announced the dissolution of Island Def Jam; subsequently Motown relocated back to Los Angeles to operate under the Capitol Music Group. It now operates out of the landmark Capitol Tower.