1 hr 18 min

Motown Records: The Hit Factory That Changed Music Forever Trapital

    • Music

Few record labels have left their stamp on the industry quite like Motown. 


This assembly line churned out hit song after hit song in the ‘60s and early ‘70s. With a who’s-who roster — Marin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder, among others — The Hitsville U.S.A. sign Gordy put on Motown’s front door became warranted. 

This episode is the story of Motown Records — it’s formula for success, what led to its decline, and where it stands today under Universal. I’m joined by friend of the pod, Zack O’Malley Greenburg. Here’s what we covered in this episode:

0:38 Berry Gordy’s origin story
8:08 Motown museum in Detroit
9:20 Cultivating a culture of creativity
13:05 Shifting the sound of Black music
20:12 Motown’s knack for discovering talent 
34:29 The beginning of the decline
36:12 80’s decade of transition
39:48 Post-Gordy struggles
45:51 Motown’s uncertainty today
53:59 Best signing?
55:16 Best business move?
568:45 Dark horse move?
1:01:58 Biggest missed opportunity?
1:07:13 Motown big-screen picture
1:09:22 Berry Gordy won big
1:10:41 Who lost the most?
1:14:56 Zack’s Jay Z index

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS
Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co
Guests: Zack O’Malley Greenburg, @zogblog
This episode is sponsored by DICE. Learn more about why artists, venues, and promoters love to partner with DICE for their ticketing needs. Visit dice.fm
Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! ratethispodcast.com/trapital
Trapital is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.

TRANSCRIPT
[00:00:00] Zack Greenburg: Berry Gordy created with Motown and sort of the Motown genre, which I think really like more than any label has become synonymous beyond just sort of like the name of label itself, you say Motown music, and a testament to the sound that he created,
[00:00:13] Dan Runcie Audio Intro: Hey, welcome to the Trapital Podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip hop culture to the next level.
[00:00:38] Dan Runcie Guest Intro: Today's episode is a deep dive into the one and only legendary Motown records. At its peak, Motown was the most successful black business in the country. It peaked at 30 million dollars of revenue in 1968 and Barry Gordy and his team assembled a sound. a unique genre of music that produced hit after hit after hit and Hitsville USA lived up to its promise.
So in this episode, we take you through the origins of how Motown came to be. What are some of the business principles and strategies that worked in its favor? And then what are some of the challenges that Motown faced too? It's now been 50 years since the peak of Motown. And this record label has had plenty of ups and downs and plenty of journeys that we went deep on in this episode. And I'm joined by Zach Greenburg He is a biographer of Jay Z and several others, and he also wrote about Michael Jackson. And in that he talked about Michael Jackson's time with Motown, especially in the Jackson 5. So we had a lot of fun in this one. So come take a trip down memory lane with us. Here's our episode on Motown.
[00:01:42] Dan Runcie: All right. Today we're back with another case study style episode, and we're going deep into Hitsville, USA. Motown, baby. Let's do this, Zack, I'm excited for this one.
[00:01:53] Zack Greenburg: Thanks for having me as always.
[00:01:55] Dan Runcie: Berry Gordy is so fascinating because At one point, this was the most successful black business. They're the most successful black entrepreneur in the country invented a genre.
And it's so hard to be able to do that. And that legacy still lives on today. We know so many record labels that have taken inspiration from what Berry Gordy built wit

Few record labels have left their stamp on the industry quite like Motown. 


This assembly line churned out hit song after hit song in the ‘60s and early ‘70s. With a who’s-who roster — Marin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder, among others — The Hitsville U.S.A. sign Gordy put on Motown’s front door became warranted. 

This episode is the story of Motown Records — it’s formula for success, what led to its decline, and where it stands today under Universal. I’m joined by friend of the pod, Zack O’Malley Greenburg. Here’s what we covered in this episode:

0:38 Berry Gordy’s origin story
8:08 Motown museum in Detroit
9:20 Cultivating a culture of creativity
13:05 Shifting the sound of Black music
20:12 Motown’s knack for discovering talent 
34:29 The beginning of the decline
36:12 80’s decade of transition
39:48 Post-Gordy struggles
45:51 Motown’s uncertainty today
53:59 Best signing?
55:16 Best business move?
568:45 Dark horse move?
1:01:58 Biggest missed opportunity?
1:07:13 Motown big-screen picture
1:09:22 Berry Gordy won big
1:10:41 Who lost the most?
1:14:56 Zack’s Jay Z index

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS
Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co
Guests: Zack O’Malley Greenburg, @zogblog
This episode is sponsored by DICE. Learn more about why artists, venues, and promoters love to partner with DICE for their ticketing needs. Visit dice.fm
Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! ratethispodcast.com/trapital
Trapital is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.

TRANSCRIPT
[00:00:00] Zack Greenburg: Berry Gordy created with Motown and sort of the Motown genre, which I think really like more than any label has become synonymous beyond just sort of like the name of label itself, you say Motown music, and a testament to the sound that he created,
[00:00:13] Dan Runcie Audio Intro: Hey, welcome to the Trapital Podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip hop culture to the next level.
[00:00:38] Dan Runcie Guest Intro: Today's episode is a deep dive into the one and only legendary Motown records. At its peak, Motown was the most successful black business in the country. It peaked at 30 million dollars of revenue in 1968 and Barry Gordy and his team assembled a sound. a unique genre of music that produced hit after hit after hit and Hitsville USA lived up to its promise.
So in this episode, we take you through the origins of how Motown came to be. What are some of the business principles and strategies that worked in its favor? And then what are some of the challenges that Motown faced too? It's now been 50 years since the peak of Motown. And this record label has had plenty of ups and downs and plenty of journeys that we went deep on in this episode. And I'm joined by Zach Greenburg He is a biographer of Jay Z and several others, and he also wrote about Michael Jackson. And in that he talked about Michael Jackson's time with Motown, especially in the Jackson 5. So we had a lot of fun in this one. So come take a trip down memory lane with us. Here's our episode on Motown.
[00:01:42] Dan Runcie: All right. Today we're back with another case study style episode, and we're going deep into Hitsville, USA. Motown, baby. Let's do this, Zack, I'm excited for this one.
[00:01:53] Zack Greenburg: Thanks for having me as always.
[00:01:55] Dan Runcie: Berry Gordy is so fascinating because At one point, this was the most successful black business. They're the most successful black entrepreneur in the country invented a genre.
And it's so hard to be able to do that. And that legacy still lives on today. We know so many record labels that have taken inspiration from what Berry Gordy built wit

1 hr 18 min

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