One of Billboard’s 100 Greatest Music Books of All Time
A New York Times Editors’ Choice
ONE OF THE YEAR'S BEST BOOKS: The Washington Post • The Financial Times • Slate • The Atlantic • Time • Forbes
“[How Music Got Free] has the clear writing and brisk reportorial acumen of a Michael Lewis book.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
What happens when an entire generation commits the same crime?
How Music Got Free is a riveting story of obsession, music, crime, and money, featuring visionaries and criminals, moguls and tech-savvy teenagers. It’s about the greatest pirate in history, the most powerful executive in the music business, a revolutionary invention and an illegal website four times the size of the iTunes Music Store.
Journalist Stephen Witt traces the secret history of digital music piracy, from the German audio engineers who invented the mp3, to a North Carolina compact-disc manufacturing plant where factory worker Dell Glover leaked nearly two thousand albums over the course of a decade, to the high-rises of midtown Manhattan where music executive Doug Morris cornered the global market on rap, and, finally, into the darkest recesses of the Internet.
Through these interwoven narratives, Witt has written a thrilling book that depicts the moment in history when ordinary life became forever entwined with the world online—when, suddenly, all the music ever recorded was available for free. In the page-turning tradition of writers like Michael Lewis and Lawrence Wright, Witt’s deeply reported first book introduces the unforgettable characters—inventors, executives, factory workers, and smugglers—who revolutionized an entire artform, and reveals for the first time the secret underworld of media pirates that transformed our digital lives.
An irresistible never-before-told story of greed, cunning, genius, and deceit, How Music Got Free isn’t just a story of the music industry—it’s a must-read history of the Internet itself.
From the Hardcover edition.
Over the last twenty-five years, legendary music producer and record man LA Reid—the man behind artists such as Toni Braxton, Kanye West, Rihanna, TLC, Outkast, Mariah Carey, Pink, Justin Bieber, and Usher—has changed the music business forever. In addition to discovering some of the biggest pop stars on the planet, he has shaped some of the most memorable and unforgettable hits of the last two generations, creating an impressive legacy of talent discovery and hit records.
Now, for the first time, he tells his story, taking fans on an intimate tour of his life, as he chronicles the fascinating journey from his small-town R&B roots in Cincinnati, Ohio, and his work as a drummer to his fame as a Grammy Award-winning music producer and his gig as a judge on the hit reality show, The X Factor. In Sing to Me, Reid goes behind the scenes of the music industry, charting his rise to fame and sharing stories of the countless artists he’s met, nurtured, and molded into stars. With fascinating insight into the early days of artists as diverse as TLC, Usher, Pink, Kanye West, and Justin Bieber, his story offers a detailed look at what life was like for stars at the start of their meteoric rise and how he always seemed to know who would be the next big thing.
What emerges is a captivating portrait from the inside of popular music evolution over the last three decades. Part music memoir, part business story of climbing to the top, this beautifully designed book, jam packed with photos, showcases Reid's trademark passion and ingenuity and introduces a multifaceted genius who continues to shape pop culture today.
For more than twenty years, All You Need to Know About the Music Business has been universally regarded as the definitive guide to the music industry. Now in its ninth edition, this latest edition leads novices and experts alike through the crucial, up-to-the-minute information on the industry’s major changes in response to today’s rapid technological advances and uncertain economy.
Whether you are—or aspire to be—a performer, writer, or executive, veteran music lawyer Donald Passman’s comprehensive guide is an indispensable tool. He offers timely, authoritative information from how to select and hire a winning team of advisors and structure their commissions and fees; navigate the ins and outs of record deals, songwriting, publishing, and copyrights; maximize concert, touring, and merchandising deals; understand the digital streaming services; and how to take a comprehensive look at the rapidly transforming landscape of the music business as a whole.
The music industry is in the eye of the storm, when everyone in the business is scrambling to figure out what’s going to happen to the major labels and what it will mean for the careers of artists and business professionals. No musician, songwriter, entertainment lawyer, agent, promoter, publisher, manager, or record company executive—anyone who makes their living from music—can afford to be without All You Need to Know About the Music Business. As Adam Levine, lead singer and guitarist of Maroon 5, says, “If you want to be in music, you have to read this book.”
From the Hardcover edition.
Take your music from passion to profession
From promotion and performance tips to marketing and career-building advice, Loren Weisman serves up lessons culled from his twenty years as a working musician and a music business consultant.
Get straight-talk from the road and the studio in areas such as:
• Creating the best plan for their career
• Booking gigs
• Recording from pre- through post-production
• Branding a band
• Fundraising and working with investors
• Marketing and promotions
The Artist’s Guide to Success in the Music Business, 2nd Edition, is a detailed analysis of the subjects that all musicians should understand and apply to pursue a successful and sustainable career in music today. Full of practical advice, this music industry book provides comprehensive details on how to achieve self-empowerment and optimize your success in today’s music business. From production and performance tips to marketing and career-building advice, this music business book instructs and empowers artists on how to take the hard-earned lessons of a fellow musician and put them to work in their own careers.
THE INSPIRATION FOR THE VH1 SERIES THE BREAKS
The Big Payback takes readers from the first $15 made by a “rapping DJ” in 1970s New York to the multi-million-dollar sales of the Phat Farm and Roc-a-Wear clothing companies in 2004 and 2007. On this four-decade-long journey from the studios where the first rap records were made to the boardrooms where the big deals were inked, The Big Payback tallies the list of who lost and who won. Read the secret histories of the early long-shot successes of Sugar Hill Records and Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC's crossover breakthrough on MTV, the marketing of gangsta rap, and the rise of artist/ entrepreneurs like Jay-Z and Sean “Diddy” Combs.
300 industry giants like Def Jam founders Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons gave their stories to renowned hip-hop journalist Dan Charnas, who provides a compelling, never-before-seen, myth-debunking view into the victories, defeats, corporate clashes, and street battles along the 40-year road to hip-hop's dominance.
• For aspiring and professional managers in the music/entertainment field as well as musicians, music publishers, and record company personnel
• Winner of the presigious ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music publishing
• This replaces 0-8230-7705-5, which sold more than 25,000 copies
From the Hardcover edition.
Music can be released, distributed, and promoted for a fraction of traditional costs. Veteran author and music-business consultant Daylle Deanna Schwartz (who started and ran her own label) has rewritten and expanded her classic, Start & Run Your Own Record Label, to reflect industry changes and new opportunities for marketing music in today’s climate.
Start & Run Your Own Record Label is a comprehensive guidebook to building a record label, packed with how-to information about market trends and revenue streams for music releases. In addition to updated information on physical distribution, generating publicity, marketing, and promotion, it also has new information about key issues including:
•Balancing on and offline promotion and marketing
•Making the most of online resources (social-networking sites, blogs, ringtones, videos, radio, and more)
•Using digital distribution profitably
•Licensing your recordings for use in the media
•Marketing music overseas
Ms. Schwartz has compiled new interviews with top industry professionals and independent labels–including recording artist CJ Baran (Push Play), Jed Carlson (founder, ReverbNation), Daniel Glass (founder, Glassnote Entertainment), blogger Perez Hilton, Scott Lapatine (founder, Stereogum), recording artist Ingrid Michaelson, Jeff Price (founder, Tunecore), MP3 bloggers, music-magazine editors, publicists, and others–for the most up-to-date, authoritative, and practical compendium available.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Music Business For Dummies explains the ins and outs of the music industry for artists and business people just starting out. You'll learn how file-sharing, streaming, and iTunes have transformed the industry, and how to navigate your way through the new distribution models to capitalize on your work. It all begins with the right team, and this practical guide explains who you need to have on your side as you begin to grow and get more exposure. Coverage includes rehearsing, performing, recording, publishing, copyrights, royalties, and much more, giving you the information you need to start your career off smart.
Music industry success has never been easy to achieve, and recent transformations and disruptions to the business side have made the whole idea even more daunting than before. This guide gives you a roadmap around the landmines, and provides expert advice for starting out on the right foot.Find the right players, agents, and business managers Make more money from your work with smart distribution Build your brand and get people talking about you Get gigs, go on tour, and keep on growing
If music is your calling, you need to plan your career in a way that sets you up for success from the very beginning. Put the right people in place, get the most out of your investments, and learn how to work the crowd both virtually and in person. Music Business For Dummies is your companion on your journey to the music career you want.
Including key industry insights, exclusive planning guidance, management tools, and strategies for a successful career, Artist Management for the Music Business has the tools to support any new or experienced artist manager.
Through its analysis of over a dozen case studies, lessons, and contract examples, author Paul Allen provides a focused look at managing artists’ careers. This follow-up to the best-selling second edition features a new chapter on entrepreneurship including detailed information on how to run an artist management enterprise as a business and includes coverage of anticipating risks, reacting to challenges, and basic money management. The chapter also contains additional sections on the effective use of social media, the Web, and handling online promotion. For additional resources, visit the book’s website at www.artistmanagementonline.com.
Forget everything you think you know about the odds of “making it” in the music industry. Today, odds mean nothing and success is not about lucky breaks. It’s about conquering social media, mastering the art of merchandising and simply working harder and being smarter than everyone else. We are living in the midst of an industry renaissance, one that has left the record companies desperately struggling to maintain their prominence, as a subculture of dedicated, DIY (do-it-yourself) musicians have taken over. These days talent is a given and success has to be earned.
In 2008, Ari Herstand boldly turned in his green Starbucks apron to his manager, determined to make a living off his craft as a singer/songwriter. Almost a decade later, he has become a founding member of the new DIY movement and a self-sustaining musician, all without the help of a major label. Now, drawing from years of experience, Herstand has written the definitive guide for other like-minded artists, the ones who want to forge their own path and not follow the traditional markers of success, like record sales, hits on the radio or the amount of your label advance. Incredibly comprehensive and brutally honest throughout, How to Make It in the New Music Business covers every facet of the "new" business, including how to:Build a grass-roots fan base—and understand the modern fan Book a profitable tour, and tips for playing live, such as opening vs. headlining etiquette, and putting on a memorable show Become popular on YouTube, Spotify and SoundCloud Get songs placed in film and television Earn royalties you didn’t know existed and reach your crowdfunding goals
Musicians will not only be introduced to all the tools available today but will be shown how to effectively leverage them to actually make money. More important, they will develop the mindset to be aware of new advancements both online and in the real world and always stay in tune with a constantly evolving landscape.
There has never been a better time to be an independent musician. Today, fans can communicate with their idols by simply picking up their phones, artists are able to produce studio-worthy content from their basement and albums are funded not by "record men" but by generous, engaged supporters. As result, How to Make It in the New Music Business is a must-have guide for anyone hoping to navigate the increasingly complex yet advantageous landscape that is the modern music industry.
From the Hardcover edition.
There is a home out there for every song you've written, but in order to place those songs and advance your music career you must arm yourself with steadfast determination, unending passion, and the most accurate music business knowledge available. For more than 38 years, Songwriter's Market has provided songwriters and performing artists with the most complete and up-to-date information needed to place songs with music publishers, find record companies and producers, obtain representation with managers, and more. This comprehensive guide gives you the tools and first-hand knowledge you need to launch your songwriting career right now!
In the 2015 edition, you'll also gain access to: A new foreword by hit songwriter and best-selling author Jason Blume New interviews with music publishers, Grammy Award-winning producers, and major music industry leaders Articles about how to create and mix a professional demo at home, how to get the most out of music conferences, and much more Hundreds of songwriting placement opportunities Listings for songwriting organizations, conferences, workshops, retreats, colonies, contests, venues, and grant sources (helpful for indie artists looking to record and tour on their own) *Includes access to the webinar "Song Seeds: How to Jump-start Your Songwriting Process" from author and Berklee College of Music professor Mark Simos.
Worldwide tours, internet downloads, international album distribution–the global market for music is expanding with lightning speed, and that means big opportunities for everyone in the music business. The main obstacle? Lack of knowledge. The world market is packed with opportunity, but it's also full of cultural, regulatory, administrative, legal, political, and logistical pitfalls. This Business of™ Global Music Marketing offers a map of the world, with full information on how to break into the global market, how to distribute records abroad, how to find an audience, how to package records to appeal to local markets, how to establish partnerships with foreign businesses, how to deal with different rules of trade, and much more. A companion volume to author Tad Lathrop's top-selling This Business of™ Music Marketing and Promotion, This Business of™ Global Music Marketing offers everyone in the music business a chance to go global.
into the Music Business
Completely revised and updated for the twenty-first century, The Music Business provides essential career advice and information on how to get started and advance in all areas of the music industry—from an author who’s had careers in music as an artist and professor for more than two decades. This comprehensive volume gives you guidance and information on:
• Starting your music career
• The ins and outs of recording contracts
• Record producing and music engineering
• The distribution and sale of records
• The Internet and MP3s, and their effects on the music industry
• The latest computer programs
• Copyright law
• Composing music and songwriting
• Music education
• The international music industry
• And much more . . .
The Music Business is an indispensable reference for anyone who wants to begin a career in any of the industry’s facets, as well as an invaluable aid to professional and would-be professional musicians alike.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
With a special focus on the implications of the digital age for the music professional, this is the essential handbook for anyone involved in the music business!
find the right manager
buy, insure and maintain equipment
get gigs and get paid
tour on a budget
do covers legally
protect your copyright
trademark your band’s name
choose a recording studio
sell your music
manage your website
understand record contracts
deal with taxes
Music Law provides all the legal information and practical advice musicians need. This edition is thoroughly updated with the latest changes in copyright and trademark law, including guidance on filling out "Form CO." Plus, find expanded information on musical collaborations between DJs and other musicians. You'll also get the most up-to-date legal forms available. Interactive forms are downloadable.
The book teaches future music managers and artists how to acquire clients, negotiate contracts, develop image, administer taxes and finances, and deal with promoters, media, attorneys, and unions. A special chapter addresses artists, advising them on what to look for in a manager, how to sign fair management contracts, and how to avoid career manipulation. Packed with industry guidelines, sample contracts, and sure-fire career tips from industry icons, this book is a professional springboard for music managers, recording artists, singers, and rock bands alike.
Become A Hip Hop Producer, Sahpreem A. King is back with his long
awaited follow up, Surviving The Game How To Succeed In The Music
Business. In this book, Sahpreem takes music business newcomers by the
hand and teaches them how to succeed in the music business the
do-it-yourself way. In addition, Sahpreem talks about music publishing,
marketing and promotion, starting an online record label, the power of
social media, and making money from your music without being signed to a
Music is a business. That’s what this book is all
about. For a whole host of justifiable reasons, there have been numerous
other books that have been published about the “talent side” of the
music industry. What distinguishes this book is the author’s firsthand
experience in the industry from both the talent side and the business
side. Artists from all genres of music, managers, producers, A&R
directors, entertainment lawyers, PR consultants, label executives, and
the public at large will benefit immeasurably from reading and studying
King’s advice and good counsel.
Sahpreem King’s practical
approach on how to get into the music business, and how to do well as a
result of your passion for the art form and your willingness to grind
and work hard every day, is informed by his years of experience, first
as a DJ and recording artist, and then as a successful producer. The
book is more than an industry insider’s view. Sahpreem tells you what to
do and what not to do, from imparting to you his basic knowledge about
music to the deeper wisdom that he has acquired over the last twenty
Jam-packed with the practical know-how you need for success in the music business, Starting Your Career as a Musician is brought to life and made easy-to grasp through the wisdom and experiences shared by numerous working musicians. While it won’t show you how to be a better musician, this indispensable guide will teach you how to make a living with your music, promote yourself or your band, get booked, and maximize additional revenue streams.
In a time when the music business is changing daily, there is still the need for the knowledge of the basic fundamentals to have a successful career. Chino Dolla lays out his formula in these 10 quick chapters:
I. Believe in Yourself
II. Learn the Business
III. Set Up Accounts
IV. Perfecting Your Craft
VI. Build Your Team
VII. Recording, Marketing and Promoting
VIII. Signing Deals
IX. Putting It All To Work
X. Staying on Top
These chapters cover developing a grassroots marketing plan, promoting your music online and offline, traditional and non-traditional places to sell your music, not getting cheated, collecting your income, and more. THE 10 RAP COMMANDMENTS does not disappoint.
Among those few were two visionaries: Russell Simmons, a young black man from Hollis, Queens, and Rick Rubin, a Jewish kid from Long Island. Though the two came from different backgrounds, their all-consuming passion for hip-hop brought them together. Soon they would revolutionize the music industry with their groundbreaking label, Def Jam Records.
Def Jam, Inc. traces the company’s incredible rise from the NYU dorm room of nineteen-year-old Rubin (where LL Cool J was discovered on a demo tape) to the powerhouse it is today; from financial struggles and scandals–including The Beastie Boys’s departure from the label and Rubin’s and Simmons’s eventual parting–to revealing anecdotes about artists like Slick Rick, Public Enemy, Foxy Brown, Jay-Z, and DMX.
Stacy Gueraseva, former editor in chief of Russell Simmons’s magazine, Oneworld, had access to the biggest players on the scene, and brings you real conversations and a behind-the-scenes look from a decade–and a company–that turned the music world upside down. She takes you back to New York in the ‘80s, when late-night spots such as Danceteria and Nell’s were burning with young, fresh rappers, and Simmons and Rubin had nothing but a hunch that they were on to something huge.
Far more than just a biography of the two men who made it happen, Def Jam, Inc. is a journey into the world of rap itself. Both an intriguing business history as well as a gritty narrative, here is the definitive book on Def Jam–a must read for any fan of hip-hop as well as all popular-culture junkies.
From the Hardcover edition.
Napster had successfully blown the industry off its commercial foundations because all that the old school label heads knew how to do was record and market hits. So when Bronfman took over the Warner Music Group in 2004, his challenge was to create a new kind of record executive.
Goodman finds the source of the crisis in the dissolution of the old Warner Music Group, the brilliant conglomerate of Atlantic, Elektra, and Warner Bros. Records. He shows how Doug Morris, the head of Atlantic Records, rose through the ranks and rode the CD bonanza of the 1990s to enormous corporate and personal profit before becoming embroiled in an ego-driven corporate turf war, and how all of Warner’s record executives were blindsided when AOL/Time-Warner announced in 2003 that it wanted nothing more to do with the record industry. When the music group was finally sold to Bronfman, it was a ghost of itself.
Bronfman built an aggressive, streamlined team headed by Lyor Cohen, whose relentless ambition and discipline had helped build Def Jam Records. They instituted a series of daring initiatives intended to give customers legitimate online music choices and took market share from Warner’s competitors. But despite these efforts, illegal downloads still outnumber legitimate ones 19–1.
Most of the talk of a new world of music and media has proven empty; despite the success of iTunes, even wildly popular sites like YouTube and MySpace have not found a way to make money with music. Instead, Warner and the other labels are diversifying and forcing young artists to give them a cut of their income from touring, publishing, and merchandising. Meanwhile, the average downloader isn’t even meeting forward-thinking musicians halfway. Each time a young band finds a following through music websites, it’s a unique story; no formula has emerged. If one does, Warner is probably in a better position than anyone to exploit it. But at the end of the day, If is the one-word verdict on Bronfman’s big bet.
Taylor explores everything from the branding of musicians to the globalization of music to the emergence of digital technologies in music production and consumption. Drawing on interviews with industry insiders, musicians, and indie label workers, he traces both the constricting forces of bottom-line economics and the revolutionary emergence of the affordable home studio, the global internet, and the mp3 that have shaped music in different ways. A sophisticated analysis of how music is made, repurposed, advertised, sold, pirated, and consumed, Music and Capitalism is a must read for anyone who cares about what they are listening to, how, and why.
Drawing on her extensive experience as a media lawyer, Ann Harrison offers a unique, expert opinion on the deals, the contracts and the business as a whole. She examines in detail the changing face of the music business and provides absorbing case studies of huge stars such as Robbie Williams, Ms Dynamite and Elvis Presley. Fascinating, practical and comprehensive, this is the bible for the music industry and indispensable reading for any musical entrepreneur.
...to burst into public awareness like Lady Gaga?
...to have the long-lived success of Mick Jagger?
...to demonstrate the creativity of The Beatles?
We don’t normally think of the music business as a source of entrepreneurial insight, but we should. The best bands have longevity, a depth of customer loyalty, and a level of profitability that puts most businesses to shame. And what they know—about marketing, partnerships, the power of bartering, and overcoming obstacles—isn’t taught in any business school.
David Fishof has lived at the center of the music business for more than 25 years. From his early successes in reuniting The Monkees and convincing Ringo Starr to launch his All Starr tour, to his current megasuccess as founder and CEO of Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp™, Fishof has learned from the leading minds in the music business—and has applied this learning in one entrepreneurial venture after another. Filled with insights from Fishof’s amazing exploits in the music industry and seasoned with business tips from music legends, Rock Your Business provides important and original business insights from an unlikely source—the world of rock and roll.
Out of the public eye, Epstein was flamboyant and charismatic. He drank, gambled compulsively and took drugs to excess. But people remember his wit, charm and capacity to inspire affection and loyalty. That's when he wasn't depressed, even suicidal. Epstein was Jewish in a society filled with anti-Semitism. He was homosexual at a time when it was a crime to be gay, and from his teenage days to the end of his life he suffered arrests, beatings and blackmail--all of which had to be kept secret.
In In My Life: The Brian Epstein Story, Debbie Geller tells the story of Epstein's complicated life through the reminiscences of his friends and family. Based on dozens of interviews--with Paul McCartney, George Martin and Marianne Faithfull, among others--plus many of Epstein's personal diaries, this book uncovers the truth behind the enigmatic young man who unintentionally caused a cultural revolution--and in the process destroyed himself.
If you're a songwriter, your job is to be an expert at crafting songs - but to be successful you also need to have a sound working knowledge of music publishing. This easy-to-read book leads you through the music publishing maze, taking the mystery out of one of the most lucrative - but least understood - areas of the entertainment industry.
Learn how songwriters and music publishers earn royalties; the most common types of music publishing contracts offered to songwriters; the inner workings of a typical music publishing company; and even how to start your own music publishing company.
In this newly revised and expanded edition of his award-winning book, Randy Poe, president of Leiber & Stoller Music Publishing, also describes recent changes in copyright law; how the internet and other new technologies are impacting the rights and income of songwriters and music publishers; and all the very latest information - and insider secrets - you need to know about today's music publishing world.
Packed with case studies, this book:
• Takes the reader on a journey from Glastonbury and the X-Factor to house concerts and crowd-funded releases;
• Demystifies management, publishing and recording contracts, and the world of copyright, intellectual property and music piracy;
• Explains how digital technologies have changed almost all aspects of music making, performing, promotion and consumption;
• Explores all levels of the music industries, from micro-independent businesses to corporate conglomerates;
• Enables students to meet the challenge of the transforming music industries.
This is the must-have primer for understanding and getting ahead in the music industries. It is essential reading for students of popular music in media studies, sociology and musicology.
“Equal parts sociological study and business advice, using unique everyday examples—for instance, how the fate of the Chili’s fajita empire rested on the sound of the sizzling platter, and how Disneyland approaches soundscapes for a fully immersive experience—to explain how sound effects our mood and shopping habits.”—EW.com
Sound and music surround us so constantly that we often take them for granted. But sound has surprising power to influence our decisions, opinions, and actions in ways we might not even notice. Discordant ambient noise can induce anxiety; ice cream truck jingles can bring you back to your childhood. In The Sonic Boom, composer and strategic sound expert Joel Beckerman provides a new framework for thinking about sound’s effects on every aspect of our lives.
You don’t need to be a musician or a composer to harness the power of sound. Companies, brands, and individuals can strategically use sound to get to the core of their mission, influence how they’re perceived by their audiences, and gain a competitive edge. Whether you’re a corporate giant connecting with millions of customers or a teacher connecting with one classroom of students, the key to an effective sonic strategy is the creation of “boom moments”—transcendent instants when sound connects with a listener’s emotional core.
“I’ve spent my life curating, creating, and collecting sounds. But Beckerman and Gray have shown here that there are still plenty of sounds that we’ve all missed. The Sonic Boom reveals the music and structured cacophony of everyday life.” —Moby
Motown cuts through decades of unsubstantiated rumors and speculation to tell the true behind-the-scenes narrative of America’s most exciting musical dynasty. It follows the company and its amazing roster of stars from the tumultuous growth years in Detroit, to the drama and intrigue of Hollywood in the 1970s, to resurgence in 2002.
Set against the civil rights movement, the decay of America’s northern industrial cities, and the social upheaval of the 1960s, Motown is a tale of the incredible entrepreneurship of Berry Gordy. But it also features the moving stories of kids from Detroit’s inner-city projects who achieved remarkable success and then, in many cases, found themselves fighting the demons that so often come with stardom—drugs, jealousy, sexual indulgence, greed, and uncontrollable ambition.
Motown features an extraordinary cast of characters, including Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder. They are presented as they lived and worked: a clan of friends, lovers, competitors, and sometimes vicious foes. Motown reveals how the hopes and dreams of each affected the lives of the others and illustrates why this singular story is a made-in-America Greek tragedy, the rise and fall of a supremely talented yet completely dysfunctional extended family.
Based on numerous original interviews and extensive documentation, Motown benefits particularly from the thousands of pages of files crammed into the basement of downtown Detroit’s Wayne County Courthouse. Those court records provide the unofficial—and hitherto largely untold—history of Motown and its stars, since almost every relationship between departing singers, songwriters, producers, and the label ended up in litigation.
From its peaks in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Motown controlled the pop charts and its stars were sought after even by the Beatles, through the inexorable slide caused by their failure to handle their stardom, Motown is a riveting and troubling look inside a music label that provided the unofficial soundtrack to an entire generation.
From the Hardcover edition.