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Motown Records: The Rise and Fall of Hitsville USA

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the glory days

At its peak, Motown Records was America’s most successful Black business. It was a bold vision from a visionary with access to legendary talent. Many record labels have their sound, but few created a distinct genre of music. That’s Motown. The record label was the definition of product-market fit.

Berry Gordy‘s failed jazz record store, 3-D Record Mart, set the tone for Motown to have broader appeal. Gordy’s brief stint on the Lincoln-Mercury assembly line shaped Motown’s process.

From Gordy’s 1994 autobiography To Be Loved:

“At the plant, the cars started out as just a frame, pulled along on conveyor belts until they emerged at the end of the line… I wanted a place where a kid off the street could walk in one door an unknown and come out another a recording artist—a star.”

Motown was a well-oiled, self-sufficient machine. The songwriters and producers were all in-house. The recording studio on West Grand Blvd in Detroit was open 24/7 and stocked with whatever items were needed. Hitsville USA was open if creativity sparked at 3 pm or 3 am.

The etiquette coaches and stylists trained Motown artists to appeal to all audiences. The white salespeople Gordy hired had promoted Motown songs to white radio stations, sometimes hiding that the music came from Black artists. I doubt that would fly today, but that is what Gordy was willing to do to reach the masses.

Then there was the song formula. Each hit song had its beginning, chorus with a grand arc, and a shoutout of the song’s name at the end. There were multiple “record labels” in-house to bypass radio station restrictions on how many songs they played from each record label. And at Motown’s weekly “quality control” meetings, multiple artists recorded versions of the same song, and the best version was the one that often won out. Much like Bad Boy Records, Motown was the originator of derivative work.

It was a process, sometimes to a fault, but it produced legends like Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas, and many more.

Motown dominated the 1960s. It was smooth sailing until the early 1970s. Gordy set his sights on Hollywood, and the vision expanded beyond the Motor City.

why the glory days didn’t last

There are two eras of Motown’s post-glory days: Gordy’s Hollywood years (1972 – 1988) and the years after Gordy’s retirement (1989 – present).

Berry’s expansion to Hollywood made sense. Motown Productions was growing. Several Motown artists were in TV specials, Diana Ross was Oscar-nominated in Gordy’s first feature film, and The Jackson 5 had their TV show. Motown’s LA presence could unlock more opportunities and amplify its stars further.

But Hitsville USA’s operation wasn’t built for that. The self-sufficient, total control, complete ownership model of Motown Records needed hands-on leadership that treated music as the main thing. Plus, the move away from Detroit—away from the culture and formula that made Motown Motown—diminished the label’s unique edge. It became tougher to maintain that rigid quality control process.

Motown’s 1970s expansion struggles are similar to BuzzFeed’s rise and fall in the 2010s. The once-beloved website shaped internet culture in social media’s growth phase. But once the VC money poured in, so did the reliance on Facebook for growth, its pivot to video, and the billion-dollar expectations. It was impossible to maintain. BuzzFeed soon came back down to earth yet found itself in a mashup with other internet media companies in the same boat.

By the early 80s, Motown was trying to “recapture its glory,” a phrase that has stuck with the company. Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder had success, but the DeBarge family never quite became the next Jackson 5. The post-disco era was challenging for Black musicians, and Motown felt that.

In 1988, Gordy sold Motown Records to MCA for $61 million. He cashed out, deservedly so, but Gordy’s successors weren’t set up for success.

Under MCA, Motown was structured to rely on its parent company for distribution, administration, and promotion. The intent was to keep costs low so the label could focus on music. The impact was a loss of control and autonomy that has stuck with the label for decades.

From Jheryl Busby to Andre Harrell, from Kedar Massenberg to Ethiopia Habtemariam, each Motown CEO entered the role as a rising entertainment exec. They understood Black music. They came into the position with plenty of career wins under their belt. But their challenges were far too similar.

Jheryl Busby, the first to replace Gordy in 1988, lost internal support once then-MCA chairman Irving Azoff left the company. Busby butt heads with new leadership and struggled to execute the same success he had as the former head of Black music at MCA.

Andre Harrell also struggled to bring his Uptown Records energy to Motown in the mid 1990s. He was criticized for inefficiency, lasted less than two years, and his career as a leading music exec was never the same. Years later, Massenberg might have kept it a little too honest about Motown’s challenges but lasted longer than most.

And most recently, Ethiopia Habtemariam had a direct line reporting to Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge for less than two years. But even after her success with the Quality Control Music joint venture, the label still relied on Capitol Music Group for radio and promotion services. The glowing profiles didn’t quite match the level of control she was actually given. She, too, was critiqued for overspending and has since left the label. In 2023, Motown doesn’t have a CEO. It has been rolled back under the Capitol umbrella.

High leadership turnover often says more about ownership than it does about the hired leader. The Brooklyn Nets have had eight head coaches from 2012 to 2022. All those coaches weren’t bad; several have had success elsewhere! But great coaching can’t overcome instability.

The same is true at Motown. Its fate as a standalone entity is uncertain. Can future leaders succeed under these circumstances? As Jheryl Busby feared over 30 years ago, he never wanted Motown to become a “cash cow for a huge corporation, trafficking only in nostalgia.” And today, when music back catalogs are more valuable than ever, the “cash cow” label sounds about right.

…and that was personal.”

Despite Motown’s current status, two “sliding doors” moments could have transformed its business to this day.

The first was in 1976. The Jackson 5 wanted to leave Motown. The siblings wanted more. More control. More freedom. And higher royalty payouts. That paved the way for Michael Jackson to sign with Epic as a solo artist and release his debut album, Off The Wall (1979). He teamed up with Quincy Jones and the rest is history.

Sure, there’s a case to make that 1976 Michael was as sure of a bet as 1979 Michael, and Jermaine Jackson was the next one up, but still. Everyone would have eaten if Motown gave Michael and The Jacksons their desired royalties.

Taylor Swift and Drake’s current record label deals show that being in business with superstars—even for artist-friendly licensing deals— is good business.

But would Michael Jackson have had the same success in the 1980s under Berry Gordy? As Zack O’Malley Greenburg said on Trapital’s podcast episode about MotownThriller was a daring, risk-taking album that would not have lined up with Motown’s quality control process. Would Gordy have been down for an out-of-this-world concept like the “Thriller” music video? It’s hard to say, but Motown still had a chance to see that through.

The second sliding doors moment is in the late 2000s. In 2007, Drake reportedly met with then-CEO of Motown, Sylvia Rhone, hoping to get signed. Drake claims that Sylvia passed on him because she didn’t think he had the potential to be a superstar.

That dynamic was complicated once Drake linked up with Young Money, where Motown claimed it had a first right of refusal on new Cash Money Records talent. But Republic Records also had its relationship with Cash Money, and Drake eventually signed with Republic Records, where he’s still signed today.

Drake has called out Sylvia on several occasions (herehere, and here). We’ve never publicly heard Sylvia’s side of it and likely won’t. But if Drake ever has a The Last Dance-style documentary about his career, I can see him sitting on the couch like Michael Jordan, saying, “Motown passed on me… and that was personal.”

These two sliding doors moments make Motown the Portland Trailblazers of music. Letting Michael Jackson go was like the Blazers drafting Sam Bowie over Jordan with the #2 pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. Not signing Drake was like the Blazers drafting Greg Oden with the #1 pick in 2007 instead of Kevin Durant.

I would love to see Motown have another sliding doors moment, but more needs to change for the opportunity to present itself again. It’s a tough asset to spin off to a more interested buyer since the back catalog is so valuable to sell, But the current operations are too stripped down to stand alone. It’s not impossible, but let’s hope its fate can change someday.

FYI – This was the longest podcast we did yet. So if you loved this essay, you’ll love to episode. We also covered:

– Boyz II Men and their success on Motown
– Success of Quality Control Music’s joint venture with Motown
– The Wiz, 98 Degrees, Dreamgirls, NBA YoungBoy, and more

Listen to the episode here.

TRANSCRIPTION

[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 with Motown records, but let’s start from the beginning. What inspired Berry Gordy to even want to get involved with music in the first place?

[00:02:23] Zack Greenburg: Yeah. So, you know, Berry Gordy, and his family were in the Detroit area, you know, a bunch of serial entrepreneurs, get a record shop early on, but he was actually like semi professional boxer coming up. And, think one thing led to another and you just kind of saw that, you know, there was a market that was not being served in music.

you know, certainly like the business was concentrated, on the coast and particularly in New York at that time, you know, eventually more in LA, but. you know, there was some stuff going on in Chicago. there was some regional acts, regional labels, things like that. But, you know, I think he just basically saw an opportunity, to start something.

And, you know, sort of in the way that if you look at, Richard Branson or Puffy or, you know, what are those types of entrepreneurs? It’s almost It doesn’t really matter what they get into. They find a way to make it work. and they’re just always on the lookout for a new sector. That’s, kind of, you know, right for some creative destruction, know, and some refreshing or some freshening, some revising, I don’t know, whatever you would call it.

And, you know, in the case of Berry Gordy. Kind of amazingly, when you think about music over the past half century, he looked around and he thought, well, this is actually, this is a sector that is very promising amongst all the sectors that I could possibly get into. So, that’s how Motown came to pass.

[00:03:36] Dan Runcie: That point about whether it’s Diddy, Branson, Gordy, and I think a lot of the tech CEOs fall in this category as well. You’re going to put them in any generation. And I do think that these people would have found a way to make things work. And that’s the same point you’re making, right? He saw an opportunity to music, but let’s say he came 30 years later.

It could have been another aspect. Let’s say he came today, probably could have been trying to do something in AI or even figure it out, how to make AI, be transformative with his music. And I think a lot of his work, whether you think about how he built derivative work or how he had this process with artists that we’ll get into so much of it taps into, okay, here’s an opportunity to optimize things.

Here’s how we can make things work. And music just happened to be the format. He chose it. 

[00:04:21] Zack Greenburg: Absolutely. And even, you know, when you think about it, he got started sort of mid century 30 years later, he was looking into other things, getting involved in film and TV. And You know, moving the business out West, but, you know, we’ll get there eventually, but, he certainly did, you know, find other ways to extend the Motown brand as time went on.

[00:04:37] Dan Runcie: So he starts off, he has this record business and things go okay with that. specifically talking about the store. And that was a lot of it was connected a bit more from the family perspective, but then he ends up getting the job at Ford specifically working with that Lincoln mercury plant. And that’s when he was only there for 2 years, but he then sees how the process works and the whole concept of Ford is, which is that assembly line process that Henry Ford has been famous for.

He sees that and then he taps back into his opportunities with music and he’s like, okay. Okay, there’s an opportunity to do the same with music. So he sees this assembly line, essentially have all these parts go through the inputs. And then the output, you get this car, he wanted to be able to pull some kid off the street, bring them into the Motown and bring them into this record label facility.

And then outcomes a star. And he felt like he had the ability to be able to create that type of dynamic. And it took some time to get there, but that’s essentially what he did. And a lot of the creations of what we saw from Hitsville USA was that exactly. 

[00:05:48] Zack Greenburg: Absolutely. And, he’ll tell you that, I’ve interviewed him a couple of times. Once for Forbes, once for my book, Michael Jackson Inc, where he talked a lot about that. And, you know, he really has a formula, for making a hit song. And, you know, it’s sort of like the song has to have a clear beginning, middle at an end. The chorus has to have a sort of grand arc that summarizes the song every time it happens.

And then there’s a sort of like grand finale bridge ending thing that, brings it all together, always at the end you hear the artist shout out the song’s name almost, you know, invariably one last time and you know, that’s like pure marketing, right? And you think about it in those days, this great songs on, you’re hearing it, but like, you know, maybe you’re in the car, it’s on the radio, maybe you’re artist and a record player.

It’s not popping up on your phone. So you know what it’s called when you hear Michael Jackson shout out, I want you back at the end and I want you back. what you’re going to go out and buy, you know what, you’re going to call in, you know, to the radio station and ask them to play. So, it’s very calculated, it really works and it’s proven and, you know, if it sort of seems like, gosh. You know, this is like a cliche. This is obvious. I think part of it is because he helped create this cliche, obvious thing, right? I mean, things become cliche or obvious because they’re smart or necessary most of the time.

So, you know, at some point it was novel and, you know, very corny, I think was part of, making that whole song structure novel. And, you know, really. When you look at how he executed it, you know, I think a modern day analog, we talked about this, you know, before on our bad boy episode, but so, you know, his role was very much like the Puffy role, or at least the early Puffy role in production. So, you know, he had a hand in songwriting and production, but, you know, mostly he figured out who he wanted to have producing his labels, songs and sort of who he wanted to be in charge of authoring that certain type of sound.

So for Berry Gordy, it was a handful of, producers called the corporation, just like Puffy had the Hitmen. And, you know, then he would kind of come in and do his own little thing on top when he thought it was necessary. But, you know, in a way it kind of adds that whole assembly line aspect, right? Where, you know, that there’s going to be a certain level of quality, there’s going to be like a distinctive sound, whether it’s a bad boy or Motown, or, you know, even going back to, you know, what a Ford car was, you know, in those days you had kind of an ideology to get.

And I think that’s one of the things that really set Motown apart. 

[00:08:08] Dan Runcie: Exactly. And I think with that too, you have him going through the process of starting this. So this record label started with an 800 with 800. That’s what he had initially. And he uses that to then start Hitsville USA. So that’s the location on Grand Ave in Detroit.

Have you been to this museum by the way? 

[00:08:30] Zack Greenburg: I did. We did a special event there. One time we had the Forbes 30 under 30, Summit and we did this like, special, like one off private interview where I went there with Quavo and we sat in Motown studios, you know, where Michael Jackson and all them had recorded. and we did a little like video discussion on the state of the music business, I think it’s floating around the internet somewhere, but, it’s a really cool building. I mean, I think what strikes. Me the most, you know, like the first time I went in is like the fact that just a house.

I mean, it really just looks like a house. the rooms are sort of like room size, you know, it’s not some sprawling like, you know, I don’t know, institutional type place like a lot of modern, recording studios, you know, it’s just a converted house but you know, you kind of walk through each room and it’s museum and everything now, so you can kind of get a feel for it. It’s very different from the modern day glitz and glamour of the record business for sure. 

[00:09:20] Dan Runcie: Yeah, been there twice. it was really cool because just like you said, you feel like you’re actually in a home and that’s the vibe that the studio gives you. And I felt like the people that were the tour guides as well, they clearly knew their history in a way where it should sound obvious, but that could obviously be hit or miss with museum sometimes.

So I felt like that piece of it was good. And it ties back to a few things that tap into the culture that it is. Gordy wanted to create that. I think make it work. He lived upstairs. Studio is downstairs. So he has everything there and he wanted to make this somewhere that creativity could spawn at any particular moment.

So he wanted to create a 24/7. Set up where he had made sure the vending machines were always stocked. So people could stay there year, you know, day in day out. If creativity comes to you at 3 p. m. or 3 a. m. you can go right there and do what you have to do. And you could keep things moving there internally.

And this is one of the things that I do think worked really well for them because. Although I think the music industry has gotten away from this, there was this era where the culture and the vibe that you could create from a label and all that continuity really helped things. So when you saw how deliberate he was from an assembly line perspective was essentially keeping his product in place and keeping all the materials in place so that it can produce outputs at any given moments to just increase the likelihood that you could have hits coming time and time again.

[00:10:49] Zack Greenburg: Yeah, for sure. And, you know, I mean, he certainly spoke a lot about, quality control, which is, it’s kind of funny, you know, given the eventual QC relationship, but, you know, I think that’s a really big part of it. And when you’re that hands on and, you know, in some cases you could say micromanaging, but it does enable you to really have a unified.

We can also get into this, fact that at some point it can become a bit of a creative constraint for artists as they mature. 

[00:11:14] Dan Runcie: Right, because with quality control, there was someone on the team that listened to everything that came through Motown and they essentially picked the best. They brought it to this weekly meeting and most of the Motown artists weren’t writing or producing their materials necessarily, but they were going in and you had all these artists that would essentially sing.

The same exact song and then they would pick the best version that came out of that to then release the song. Sometimes they had multiple artists that would end up releasing a version. And we saw different versions of this where you had both Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye have their versions of Ain’t No Mountain high enough.

Granted it was a few years later in different songs, but a lot of that stems from that quality control aspect. And there’s this one quote that, was here from One of the books that was written about, Berry Gordy and Motown, where they talked about quality control and they said, quote, the artists were a means to an end in a way, end quote.

And that’s exactly what we’re talking about how the downside is that it could limit creativity, but the upside is that it gives you the opportunity to get the best polished diamond from all of the creations that come from this studio. 

[00:12:24] Zack Greenburg: Absolutely. And man, there were quite a few, right? I mean, when you look through, I mean, the heydays, Smokey Robinson, the Miracles, Diana Ross, the Supremes, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, coming into, you know, Michael Jackson, the Jackson 5, you know, think we’ve talked about in our previous discussions about hip hop, you know, like sort of the staying power, of different labels and, you know, and how you can kind of keep identifying talent and keep it coming. I mean, that’s quite a breadth You know, of like musical accomplishment that they’ve got, that you could say that Berry Gordy identified over the years.

So, you know, I would really, obviously I’d put him up against any other, identify any A& R, any, you know, music mogul in the history of the business, for sure. 

[00:13:05] Dan Runcie: I agree. And I think the other thing that’s interesting too, is This taps back into the whole process and quality management things. Berry Gordy really wanted to help shift the sound and direction of this label because at the time, black music and music that was made by black artists was quite segmented where people didn’t feel like it could reach beyond a certain audience.

And he experienced some of this himself. One of the reasons that his record stores closed was because he was focused primarily on jazz music. At the time, even Black folks weren’t really into jazz at that particular moment. So he just didn’t have the market to be able to continue this. So I think that helps Chase Motower.

He says, okay, I want the music that’s able to be listened to by everyone. I want Black people to ride with it. I want white people. I want anyone in America to be able to ride with the same way that people would listen to the Beach Boys. And he had a few more interesting things that were part of this process.

One, everyone had an etiquette coach. And these are things that we’re teaching them, essentially, how you have black people essentially speak to white people. Granted, I think there’s a lot of that that is problematic. That probably wouldn’t fly into the same ways today, just given some of the language there.

but then additionally, he also had white salesmen that were essentially the ones that were promoting the records in different areas, going to different radio stations. And he would go as far to insert in records that he’s promoting to not even show the artist on the cover because he wanted the record to reach.

And he didn’t want people to necessarily immediately see or relate it to a black artist, which I thought was interesting, but lined up with a lot of these things. So, even though some of the choices clearly were problematic, it probably wouldn’t fly at the same way today. That’s how he was about process and wanting to essentially be able to sell this talent anywhere in the country.

[00:15:01] Zack Greenburg: Yeah, and it’s especially remarkable when you sort think of the cultural context of, you know, of when this is all happening in the 60s. You know, I mean, this is a time of great polarization and social change and, you know, really like turmoil, in a lot of ways, disunity, but, what Berry Gordy created with Motown and sort of the Motown genre, which I think really like more than any label has become synonymous like a genre, you know, beyond just sort of like the name of label itself, you say Motown music, and you’re talking about like a genre, as much as you’re talking about a label, the fact that you’d be able to sort of create that it like in the 60s, even the late 60s, when things were really why we think we’re polarized now.

I mean, the late sixties, oh my gosh. Like what a testament to the sort of the sound that he created, which, you know, just like bridged all these divides and, you know, you obviously still go to any wedding, black, white, you know, at anything. And, you’re gonna hear Motown all over the place.

So I think that kind of goes back to what he created, you know, even at the time. being so accessible to so many different audiences and, you know, one of the things he told me, when I interviewed him, he said that, Martin Luther King came to see him, in Detroit, at the peak of the civil rights movement.

And apparently, according to Gary Gordy, MLK said, he said, what I’m trying to do politically and intellectually, you’re doing with your music. I love the feeling people get when they hear your music. And so maybe we can make a deal. And they made a deal to actually put out some of MLK’s greatest speeches.

They put out three albums on Motown and Gordy kind of summed it up by saying, if you do the right thing will come to you. So I thought that was such a cool. Little nugget that people don’t necessarily realize. and, you know, I think people don’t, think of Berry Gordy as like avant garde, you know, civil rights activist or anything, but, he kind of approached it in his own way, which was to make this music that could, you know, that could really bring people together.

They could also get black culture, you know, into the mainstream us culture, at the same time. And, you know, I mean, we saw that, you know, decades later with hip hop, but. Berry Gordy, you know, he made that blueprint, you know, very, very, very early on. 

[00:17:03] Dan Runcie: It’s a great story because I think it highlights the complexity and that people just aren’t in these corners. And as you mentioned, Berry Gordy wasn’t known for his civil rights activism. In many ways, people would often point to things that he may have shied away from, where I remember, especially in the 70s when you started to hear a bit more of a pacifist and things like that, there was a push and people wanted Motown to lead more into this and he necessarily wasn’t as eager at the time and I remember even Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, one of the biggest records that was ever made.

There was tension leading up to that because Gordy was like, wait, what is this? you want to do this? Like, what are we doing here? And then it eventually gets made. And then you see how I feel like every time that one of these publications has one of the greatest songs ever made, I’m sure it’s come up on number one, or at least on several, one of these.

So you see that, and you’ve seen other areas where he clearly has leaned into this, but I do think that his. Place in his role at that time, often highlighted some of that ongoing tension that we’ve seen from black leaders over the years about people want progress, but what’s the best way to agree with this?

And you date back to some of the more public debates between folks like Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Dubois about what is the best way for black progress and group economics and things like that. And I feel like Berry Gordy clearly was on a Particular side of that, that not everyone may have agreed with, but he clearly still wanted to be able to help progress things in a particular way.

So he’s a very fascinating figure as we look at this progression, especially in the 20th century. 

[00:18:42] Zack Greenburg: Well, that’s right. And, you know, I think there’s a reason you see him put out MLK speeches. I don’t, think he put up Malcolm X’s speeches, you know, but that was just sort of his approach, right? He was more Martin than Malcolm.

And, you know, obviously you could speak to the merits of either method, but, Berry Gordon definitely, had his preference there. 

[00:18:59] Dan Runcie: The other thing that I want to talk about, you mentioned it earlier, but the talent and the breadth of talent that was in this place is such a constraint and such a valuable time.

It’s one of those things where just imagine walking through on a, some day in, let’s say 1964, you’re just walking through Motown and all of the names that you could just see there making music on a Wednesday afternoon. It’s crazy to think of the names and also how he found folks because. Look at Smokey Robinson and Smokey Robinson, the miracles essentially end up releasing shop around, which I do think ends up becoming the first true hit that, or the first, hit single that comes from Motown.

He found that he found Smokey on a street corner performing almost, and in many ways, it feels similar to. What we see decades later with Sylvia Robinson driving around the New Jersey tri state area, finding hip hop artists for Sugar Hill Gang. This is how these early entrepreneurs did it. They were the talent development.

They saw things and granted it was a much less crowded market. So the people that were pushing music onto folks had a little bit easier time breaking through, but it was still tough, especially at the time. And he was able to make it work in that way, which was, cool. 

[00:20:13] Zack Greenburg: Yeah, I mean, he actually did. And, you know, of course, like the one group that we haven’t talked about too much yet is Jackson and sort of the way that, different groups were signed in those days, you know, they’re all the stories about, well, you hear, you see somebody busking and you sign them and this and that.

And, sort of some of the stories, though, if you talk to a lot of different people, you get, you talk to 3 people, you get 3 different stories. Right? So, I think for my book on MJ, I talked to. His dad, I talked to Berry Gordy and I talked to the guy who signed them to this little record company called Steel Town in Gary, Indiana.

And they all had three different versions of, you know, how it went down, right? And so, there’s that old saying, basically that the winners get to write history and, you know, Berry Gordy won. So, you know, whether his version is a hundred percent, accurate or not, that’s kind of the version that, you know, we tend to hear I think his version is usually correct, but there’s definitely some, you know, embellishment or some showmanship from time to time.

So, you know, I think, for example, with the Jackson 5, Berry Gordy decided to put out, I think it was their first album as Diana Ross presents the Jackson 5 and, you know, she had this little thing where she’s like, I discovered this group from Gary, Indiana and like blah, blah, blah, and that wasn’t really how it happened at all.

And it was really, you know, depending on who you ask, but I think what happened is Suzanne DePasse, who was one of Berry Gordy’s lieutenants, had discovered them, and I think it was, there’s another band who heard them, like sent them along to Suzanne DePasse that like, she kind of did the legwork for Berry Gordy.

And it was like many times, many. Kind of connections later that Diana Ross, you know, became connected, to the group. but, you know, it’s such a better story, right? Like Diana Ross has found these kids from, from the Midwest and, you know, bringing them out, onto Motown. So. I always think that’s, kind of funny how, the stories end up getting presented and, you know, when you hear it from everybody else involved, I mean, and Diana Ross, of course, did become, really instrumental and especially Michael’s life, as time went on, moved to LA and I think she, he actually lived with her for a little while while they were, you know, making the move and all this stuff, but, you know, it, didn’t exactly start out that way. 

[00:22:18] Dan Runcie: Right. And the Jackson 5 is interesting because they, in many ways were the last group that came through in the heyday of Motown because the heyday we’re really talking about is that 50 to 60s run that we’ve been talking about with a lot of the groups and the artists that we mentioned, especially young Marvin Gaye, young Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and the Supremes.

And then Jackson 5 comes along. But they come along towards the end of the decade. And just for some context setting, in 1968, Motown is doing 30 million in revenue. And they at one point had a 65% hit rate on the songs that they released in terms of actually being able to chart. So the highs were quite high and they were, killing it.

The thing is, though, in the early 70s, this is where things start to shift a little bit, because at this point, Berry has his eyes set much bigger, and he wants to move beyond things in Detroit, because of course he was in the Hitsville, U.S.A. house, solely, after the riots that happened and there was some damage there, they ended up expanding things closer.

they ended up expanding further in Detroit to just get a bigger size studio there as well. But then, he eventually wants to go to Hollywood so that he could get more into film. He wants to get into production for plays. He wants to bring these artists on the big screen. And it makes sense. We see why this is a huge medium.

You saw how much, popular this talent is. And if you can get people to see them and buy into this, visual image that he’s clearly curated, no different than we saw someone like Diddy decades later curating things, he wanted to do that. And I think that in many ways, this was one of those big challenges that any leader can have.

Do you stay with the thing that’s working really well? Or do you try to expand? And when you do expand, how do you find out? How do you make sure that you have the best talent around you? How do you make sure that you’re well equipped? And I think that bowtie really started to strain because as things started to grow for the label, a lot of the artists started to feel like they were getting neglected because of these broader ambitions.

And that in many ways, now we’re dating 50 plus years ago to like 1972 timeframe. That’s when a lot of ways was the beginning of the end, at least in terms of the Motown that a lot of people grew up with and knew. 

[00:24:41] Zack Greenburg: I think so for sure. And, you know, I think as an entrepreneur, you have to seek the next thing, right? I mean, you don’t want to stagnate and you kind of have to take the risk and go for the next big thing and maybe you succeed and maybe you don’t, and I think that’s at least the way we’ve been conditioned to think. On the other hand, there could be an argument for like, we don’t need to have this growth at all costs mindset as a society, you know, what’s wrong with having a really awesome business that’s just like constantly, you know, successful has happy employees, you know, that kind of thing. But, I guess that’s, you know, this is, you know, Trapital not, you know, Trapsocialism, I dunno, we’re talking within a certain realm of, you know, of economic, styles and systems.

So that’s what’s gotta happen. And that’s what Berry Gordy decided to do, you know, by moving everything to LA but we talked, a while ago about John McClain, and his role in kind of in, in the past few decades as an executive. He’s somebody who rarely talks, but somebody interviewed him at some point.

He said that he thought that moving to LA was, kind of the beginning of the end for Motown, because it, kind of changed Motown from being a trendsetter to being a trend follower. And, I think I agree with that. And, you know, that’s not to say that there wasn’t additional success, especially, you know, beyond the recorded music business that occurred. And that moving to LA kind of, you know, like supercharged some of that, but yeah, you know, I mean, I think when Motown was in the Motor City, in its namesake place, like, You know, it was sort of like, I don’t say the only game in town cause there were other labels, but I think it was sort of, the main game in town and, being in a place that, you know, wasn’t sort of the epicenter of the music business allowed it to have kind of its own unique style and not sort of be influenced as much by what else was going on.

And, you know, don’t forget in those days, it wasn’t like everything was, you know, it wasn’t like we were all tuning into the same social media channels. you know, we weren’t even like really tuned into cable TV or anything like that, you know, there wasn’t the same kind of like national culture that there is today that, you know, where trends just kind of like fly across in a second. And things did kind of take time to move from one place to the other. throughout the country. So, you know, there was like a certain regionalism to it that I think set Motown apart and, you know, maybe you lose a little bit, you know, once you’re out in LA, but, you know, certainly around that time, you really start to see some of the artists who wanted more creative freedom, leaving, you know, some others pushing back, you know, I think even within, a few years of moving to LA, the Jackson 5, we’re kind of, having some issues with Motown and in terms of, you know, can we make some of our own types of music? You know, do we really have to stick to quite the assembly line? So, yeah, I do think it was a mixed bag for Berry Gordy to head west. 

[00:27:20] Dan Runcie: And this is where things really started to struggle because a lot of what worked for Berry Gordy was so perfect for. The Hitsville USA West Grand Ave mentality of building everything there and not to say that he was only an early stage founder that couldn’t necessarily progress. But I think a lot of the processes he had were more fit for that era. So naturally, you see the growing success of the Jackson 5 and Michael is no longer 9 years old.

He is at this point now a full on teenager, but unfortunately, it just didn’t quite. Progress in a few things, as you mentioned, you wanted more, they wanted more creative control. They also wanted to have a bit more ownership. There were disputes about royalties. And I remember reading something that said that the Jackson 5 had calculated how much they got.

And it was only a 2.3% stake of how much revenue was either coming through or would be coming through in the future. And they see this and they’re like, okay, well how can we see our opportunity to get more of that? So then they leave for Epic. And then you also saw a handful of artists at this point were already on their ways out and things were definitely starting to look a little bit more bleak because by the time you get to the end of the seventies, the beginning of 1980s, The music industry was already, granted things are cyclical, but they were starting to sour a bit on black music.

This was the end of disco and people wanted nothing to do with that genre. And even though Motown wasn’t disco necessarily, there was vibes of the types of artists they were trying to naturally capture in the 70s. So then that had all of black music taking a hit in a lot of ways and there were groups like the barge and others that I think they tried to make work. Obviously, I think Stevie Wonder was a mainstay during all this and that worked out really well for them, but he was really just 1 mainstay. You did have Marvin Gaye, but again, still, it just wasn’t necessarily. The same, and I think that they definitely started to struggle even more at that particular moment.

And even as early as the 80s, you start to see more of that narrative that honestly, you still hear today about recapturing that Motown magic or recapturing that Motown journey. People have been saying this now for 40 years. 

[00:29:40] Zack Greenburg: Yeah, for sure. And I think one thing that people forget is that even though the Jackson 5 moved on to Epic, you know, and that’s where MJ ended up, you know, Epic and CBS, and, that’s where MJ ended up launching a solo career, people forget that Jermaine actually stayed at Motown initially.

 He had married Berry Gordy’s daughter and, you know, they had this whole wedding with like, you know, 150 white doves were released and, you know, they had this, you know, kind of fairytale situation. And apparently, Berry said to Jermaine, like, Hey, you can go with your brothers and stay with me, whatever you want.

And, you know, knowing Berry, I think he maybe didn’t put it that delicately or, you know, that was kind of a huge break from Motown because you know, he had really taken the Jackson 5 under his wing. They used to have, Gordy versus Jackson family, baseball games. Michael Jackson would play catcher. It was very So, you know, I think Tito was like the big power hitter, is what I heard. but yeah, for, you know, I mean, these were two families that were really intricately linked. And I think ultimately it kind of came down to, you know, there was some creative control issues, but, you know, Joe Jackson was, pretty controlling, Berry Gordy was pretty controlling and at some point, you know, it just, I think it became impossible for them to coexist.

And so, Joe kind of guided them over to Epic to get that big deal, but, you know, Jermaine. It wasn’t obvious that Michael was going to be, you know, by far the superstar of all the Jacksons. And, you know, Jermaine did seem at the time to be like the one who had the most promising solo career, or at least it was, you know, pretty close.

And, you know, he never really found his niche is a solo act and eventually it would go on to get back every night with his brothers and go on tours and that sort of thing.

[00:31:22] Dan Runcie: I think that’s a good distinction because people will often point to and think about what are the big nine and then he drops off the wall. This isn’t what happened. There’s a pretty big difference between those few years. No difference than anyone where naturally there’s a difference between a 15 year, but there were others that experienced.

So many of the artists that ended up leaving at that particular year old artist and a 19 year old artist. You’re a completely different person at that point. And that’s exactly what we ended up seeing with Michael. So missed opportunity for sure missed opportunities that Motown had, we’ll get to miss opportunities in a minute, but you often hear people talk about them not being able to keep Michael, but to your point, the Jackson 5 leaving Motown in 1975, 76, isn’t the same as.

Them leaving in 1970 time ended up having greater, 

success once they were able to have a bit of freedom after leaving Motown, which was a bit unfortunate because obviously, I think it would have been great to see them continue that success under Berry Gordy’s umbrella and continue to see them grow.

But not everyone is going to be Stevie Wonder. Not everyone is there to say, Hey, I’m with you until the end. And I’m going to be riding with you during this entire journey. It just doesn’t work that way. People have careers. No different. You see them today where people see a bigger opportunity and the grass is greener.

They want to take advantage of that, especially if they don’t feel like they are being put in the best position to thrive. So in the 80s, Motown is now officially in its transition recovery mode, trying to recapture what was there and we see a few things happen.

So they start leading in on debarge. And a lot of people, DeBarge did have a pretty big hit with Rhythm of the Night, but I do think that they tried to make the DeBarge family replicate some of this Jackson family, where you had El DeBarge, and you had all of these others, but it just didn’t quite click, at least in a mainstream way to that perspective, but then you did have Lionel Richie, who did end up having a pretty big career, especially with everything he had done since the, Commodores and, but then you also had Berry Gordy’s son that they were also trying to work into the mix, who performed under the name Rockwell, who had had that song, somebody’s watching me that Michael had sung the hook on.

So you had a few things there, but just didn’t exactly click because again, it’s stuck in two models. Berry wanted to continue to have complete control over it. And the artists just didn’t want that anymore. I think that worked when you were literally giving artists. No giving artists in a region of the country like Detroit a platform and opportunity, but they had no other options.

But now they had leverage. Now they could go talk to mca Now they could go talk to CBS Epic and some of these other labels. So Berry’s mentality just didn’t work as much. And then by 1988 is when we see him transition on from the label, at least as the CEO level. And then we start to see the new blood come in to run the record label.

[00:34:30] Zack Greenburg: Yeah. I mean, I think it is important to note that, you know, although you could characterize the 80s as sort of like musical decline era for Motown, you know, in the way that many artists are entrepreneurs, like, seem to be in a period of delays over some decade or whatever, they actually get much richer during that period of malaise, because what they had built before was so good.

And there’s still kind of like, they’re finally cashing in on it, whereas maybe they didn’t cash in on it when it first happened. But like, enough of the sort of like older, wealthier decision makers who can pay them more are like, finally getting hip to the fact that, you know, this is a big deal.

So, I would definitely think about Motown that context and that, you know, when Berry was able to sell, you know, a huge chunk, of the company kind of like step back from it, that was after like a a period of time when Motown was not as hot as it had been.

But you had things going on, like Motown 25 in 1983, that special. Put together, where MJ came back and reunited, with his brothers and the whole Motown crew and he had, you know, all these other artists, but that was actually the first time I think that MJ moonwalked, you know, sort of in public, like you know, he sort of like the popular debut of the moonwalk and it just really kind of, Created, so much buzz around that, that then kind of rubbed off on Motown and didn’t really matter whether he wasn’t on Motown anymore, but it just kind of gave a little more shine to the label and gave it sort of like, a relevance, I think that helped kind of carry through to the end of the 80s and helped get Berry Gordy, this really big payday.

So, I wouldn’t discount like You know, I don’t know the sort of like delayed reaction that sort of the half life of fame or whatever you want to call it. But, there were still some of these moments that were created, that kept paying dividends as the time went on. I think 

[00:36:13] Dan Runcie: That’s a fair point because he also sold at this smart time when right as we’re seeing in this current era that we’re recording, it’s a very hot time for music asset transactions as were the late 80s and early 90s too. That’s when you saw Geffen do many of the deals that he had done and Gordy. Did the same where I believe he made 61 million from the sale, or at least his portion of the sale in 1988, which is huge.

You didn’t see people, especially black business owners that fully owned everything being able to cash out at that level. So that’s a good point. I’m glad that you mentioned that. And with this is when we start to see the transition of leadership. And we start to see a few things that do ring true.

Where the first person that takes over is Gerald Busby, who was leading black music at MCA at the time. And even though Motown had had a bit of its malaise in the 1980s, MCA did not, in many ways, it was seen as the leader in black music. And Bubsy was able to. Have quite a good amount of success there with all of the work that he had done.

the thing is though, he had started to run into some issues because he was in this weird dynamic where this company, Polygram had owned part of the label, as did Boston Ventures, his private equity group, and Bubsy was at odds with the folks at Boston Ventures about. some creative control. And he had this quote where he says he’d rather quit Motown president than see the label become a cash cow for a huge corporation trafficking off of nostalgia.

And that was a quote that was said back in the 90s just thinking about how. Similar, some of those quotes now come to today. And this was someone who was largely credited from helping to say blast black music from that disco era. But unfortunately, I think a lot of those tensions that he had had, at the time just made life a little bit more difficult for him at Motown.

So he eventually we Left. And while he was there, he was able to at least get a few things under. Like he was the one that had brought in voice to men. He had Queen Latifah there. He had Johnny Gill, who was another artist at the time that was quite popular, but maybe hadn’t necessarily lived on in the way.

And his dreams were, he wanted to have Motown cafes, the same way you had hard rock cafes. He wanted to have the young acts going and touring around at different places to recreate that vibe. And this is something that we’ll get into. I think we see time and time again, where these leaders have all these dreams and visions for what they see.

Motown can be, but because of the powers that be because of other things, they just can’t quite get there to make it happen. 

[00:38:51] Zack Greenburg: Yeah. And I think that one of the things that set Motown apart early on, you know, as sets many startups apart early on, and many record companies are early on is that they were independent and they could do whatever they wanted.

And, you know, Berry Gordy was, sort of like the unquestioned leader and, you know, things kind of, in the way that things kind of get done, let’s say more efficiently, if not, more equitably in dictatorships, like he could just get shit done, move things around, have it happen immediately. And so when you started to have, you know, these corporate parents, parent companies, you know, you’d have to go through all these layers of approval to do anything.

And, kind of like stop being able to be agile. and I think that’s especially important in the music business when, you know, you have to. Not be reactive, but proactive, right? You have to be ahead of things. So, you know, if you’re getting to a point where you’re having to wait on approvals and things like that, you’ve already lost because you should have been out in front to begin with.

[00:39:48] Dan Runcie: And this is something that I think plagued Motown time and time again, because Gordy didn’t necessarily operate in this way. He had so many people that wanted to replicate what he did, but they didn’t have the same parameters and the same leeway to make those decisions. As you mentioned, they’re now working for corporations that now have their own vested interest.

And to be frank, one of the tensions that we see often in music is that these brazen, bold leaders want to be able to take big swings and do things that are innovative and off the cuff. And these corporations are hard set pressed on efficiency. They don’t want to see overspending. They don’t want to see over commitments, or they want to be able to feel like this is being run in a strategic way.

This is something that in the Interscope episode that we talked about, Jimmy Iveen struggled with this as well, even as recently as his tenure with Apple music. But this is one of those frequent tensions that happens with music executives. And we saw that continue with the person that replace Busby, which is Andre Harrell.

We talked about him a bit in the Bad Boy episode, but Andre, of course, at this time was coming fresh off of Uptown Records where he was working in collaboration with MCA and he was able to build a little bit of his own fiefdom there where granted he still had people he had to answer to, but I think he had a pretty good relationship with the folks at MCA up until the end there.

Then he goes to Motown and he sees this opportunity. And there’s a few things that stick out about this because. As early as a year ago, he was starting to get rumored as to be the next person to then take over. But then he gets 250k as an initial announcement. He takes out this full page ad, New York Times.

And then he has this ad that essentially says from Uptown to Motown, it’s on. And it’s him sitting in the back of the chair and you see a sweatshirt in the back. And people hated it. People grilled him. The way that they talked about him, the trades and even Russell Simmons and others coming in and giving him shit about it.

He had pretty verbal flight fights with Clarence Avon, who was pretty powerful at the time. And Clarence even said he had swung on him at one particular point and was quite critical of him as well. There’s this one quote that I think was really funny here, where this was from the Netflix documentary that was, The Black Godfather, which was about Clarence Avon.

And, or actually, no, this is before this summer variety interview, but they talked about this as well. The doc, Clarence says, Andre and I didn’t get along. And then he pointed to an image of the Motown boy band, 98 degrees. And Avon says, Andre wanted to send these white boys to Harlem to make them sound black.

And I was like, you’re out of your fucking mind. And it’s a funny quote, because I do think that 98 degrees. Maybe didn’t exactly have as many hits as they probably would have thought, but in Andre Harrell’s defense, and sadly, but true, the mentality wasn’t necessarily wrong because of the 90s, the most successful Motown act that you had was Boyz II Men, and we saw at the end of the decade that, what’s that guy’s name, the con artist that had the boy bands, Lou Pearlman, like, he literally modeled Backstreet Boys and NSYNC after How can I find white boys to men and make them see modern contemporary and make this happen?

And that’s how he was able to have success there. And that was before, what’s his name? That was before Andre Harrell was really getting going. So he saw where things were going. But it just didn’t click at the time. It just wasn’t right. And obviously 90 degrees ends up having some decent success, but that’s well after Andre Harrell had left the label.

So he ended up leaving and the press was not kind to him. Literally headlines were. Andre Harrell gets fired from LA Times it’s a type of headline that we probably don’t see now when record label execs get fired in the same way. I think the industry is much more controlled in its PR sometimes to a fault, but it was very interesting to see that, come through. And another interesting quote from that, Lucian Grange had called the Andre Harrell at Motown relationship, an organ rejection. In terms of the relationship there. 

[00:43:56] Zack Greenburg: Yeah, no, I mean, and it’s kind of interesting if you think about, you know, around that same time. What was going on in the music business, what would have been a great fit at Motown that didn’t happen, would have been to sign Eminem, right? I mean, rather than try to do it with 98 degrees, if you really want to go and sort of like figure out what the kids are listening to, and do the thing where you have a white guy making black music, like. Holy shit. There’s Eminem from Detroit, you know, doing his thing. But, you know, I think it took different kind of Andre to pull that one off.

So, you know, in a way well played, you know, I mean, in a way it was like Andre was maybe Andre Harrell was taking some risks, but he wasn’t taking quite enough. Like, he wasn’t going far enough. He wasn’t going way out enough on a limb. So, if you were really going to try to read that Motown, then that then go all the way at the same time, though, I would argue.

I mean, if you look back, it’s sort of like what worked with Motown and what did it, I think one of Motown’s greatest attributes is also a limiting factor. And that’s the thing we talked about before it, it’s a label, but it’s also a genre. And so if you have Motown making hip hop, it’s like, wait a minute this isn’t Motown. Like this isn’t the genre of Motown. Like this is not the thing that I heard at my aunt’s wedding, you know, this is something different. So, I think that they got kind of caught in between and I know that they’ve done all this stuff in hip hop over the years and, whatever, but it still doesn’t feel like quite a fit because Motown, I mean that, you know, Motown was Motown, Motown wasn’t hip hop and, you know, maybe if it had started getting into hip hop in the early days of hip hop.

you know, it would have felt a little bit different about that, but, you know, hip hop is Def Jam, hip hop is is Roc-A-Fella hip hop is Bad Boy, and I just, you know, for all the efforts that Motown has made to get into hip hop, I think, it, has had a hard time, you know, fully sticking in the way that it would need to for Motown to replicate its, early success.

[00:45:51] Dan Runcie: And one of the things that I think that a lot of these post Berry Gordy leaders struggled with was… As you mentioned, yeah, with Andre Harrell or others, there was the desire and opportunity to be able to do more, but the combination of the corporate structures in place that just didn’t give them the same freedom that a Berry Gordy himself would have had.

And then secondly. The business structure of how Motown itself as a company was set up didn’t necessarily allow that because even things like radio or promotion and things like that, they still relied on other labels under the corporate umbrella, even to this day to get some of those things in place.

So it really wasn’t. Given the same freedom, even though their name, especially in the late 90s early two thousands was used in, especially back then it was the whole universal Republic Motown group or whatever the amalgamation was at the time. It really wasn’t given the same freedom as some of those other record labels were.

And I think we saw those challenges come in from time with some of the other leaders as well, because. Afterward, after, Harrell left, you had George Jackson who was there, felt like a bit more interim there for a couple of years. And then you had Kedar Mazenberg who was there late 90s early 2000.

And that was a bit more than Neo soul vibe. You had India, Ari and a few others, but he has this quote that he gave to the independent, 2000 where he says, but we’re not going to dominate the pop charts. Like we used to, how can we, there are too many other companies out there for that. So please don’t compare it to the Motown of yesteryear.

This is someone that is in the leadership role saying that exact quote. like How do you get past that? And then he talks again. I think they made a comparison to Def Jam where he said, you know, Def Jam, it took 10, 20 years to get to this established guidance, the way that you did with someone like a Lyor Cohen.

And you essentially had that with Berry Gordy. But again, Lior was doing this before Def Jam ended up, you know, becoming under the whole Island Def Jam group and everything happened there. After that, you have Sylvia Roan, who was rising up the ranks herself. Still one of the most successful Black women in media and music right now.

She’s currently at Epic, but she had her time at Motown as well. And I’m going to get into her because I have something I want to say for missed opportunities there. And then you get more recently to the era of Ethiopia Habtamirian, who was there from 2011. Up until 2022, and she’s 1 of those that I do feel like was put in a pretty hard spot because on 1 hand, she was able to essentially double the market share.

Thanks in part to the partnership that she had made with hip hop through quality control to be able to help. them succeed And this is especially when the Migos are first starting to pop off, and then that transitions into the success of artists like Lil Yachty and Lil Baby and City Girls and others. But I think that also some of the overspending and things like that were quite critiqued.

And especially from a PR perspective, the same way I was mentioning earlier when. Andre Harrell’s challenges were bright front and center for the entire industry to read. Ethiopia’s necessarily weren’t in the same way. And even in some of the aspects of her leaving, the media had they called it a bit more reflective of, oh, Ethiopia has chosen to step down.

When, yes, that’s true, but there was also a pretty large severance package from Lucian and others at UMG. And again, I don’t think she was necessarily given as much leadership either, because Motown was kind of, and still is kind of under capital, but now they’ve essentially moved it back. They had announced that she was solely the CEO back in 2021, but that was a pretty short lived.

And to be honest, it felt like. Yeah. 1 of those announcements that the industry made in this, like, post George Floyd era to try to highlight and support black CEOs, which was great to see, but she’s someone that’s talented. You don’t want to see her just become a tokenized person to have this. So, even though, like any CEO, I think there was things you could point out that she probably could have done differently.

Still wasn’t given the most leeway to begin with it. Now we’re back in this point where what is Motown who’s leading Motown. It’s essentially the subsidiary under capital, but it’s now a brand. And who knows where things are going to be. And it’s quite unfortunate, but given everything that we’ve said up into this point, it also, isn’t that surprising just given the dynamic.

[00:50:21] Zack Greenburg: Yeah, a hundred percent. And I think, you know, like you mentioned the the partnership with quality control. I mean, I think. That was a smart way to get more involved in hip hop because that was a brand that did have roots in hip hop more that, kind of resonated. and so when you sort of like, build as a partnership and look at it that way, it seems a little more credible than like,you know, Motown is doing hip hop now. so it’s too bad that, you know, things kind of turned out the way they did, but, it’s an interesting asset, right? I mean, it’s a brand that has a lot of value. But it’s not exactly clear, you know, how to sort of monetize it. And I think with Motown right now, it’s like, it’s probably about more, than the music, right?

Like that’s maybe where most of the monetization opportunity would be, whether it’s, you know, Motown branded, you know, I don’t know, films and, you know, I don’t know, products, whatever the case may be. It resonates more, I think, than it does, as a record label. And people don’t care so much about record labels anymore.

Like we’ve talked about this, you know, in prior episodes, but it’s not the same. You’re not going to put on your record on a record player and see that big Motown logo on it, you’re having something pop up your ear. And there, there’s no visual, like, you don’t know whether it’s on Motown or Def Jam or Universal or Sony or, and you don’t probably don’t care.

Right. I mean, and I think as things have kind of blurred together, genres are blurring together, you know, different, labels are gobbling each other up over the years, you know, people have just kind of like lost track and, you know, sort of like the idea of a label just isn’t as important anymore.

So, I do think that it’s. a valuable piece of IP and, you know, there’s things to do with it still. But, you know, I think, Berry Gordy certainly like squeezed, you know, all he could out of it and, did a great job of sort of ultimately profiting off of what it was that he built.

[00:52:04] Dan Runcie: Right. Because what you have right now is this brand where they do have Motown the musical, which I do think has been pretty successful, both in the US and in Europe and elsewhere that it’s traveled. but that’s it. I mean, quality control partnership doesn’t exist in the same way since they’ve been now bought by hive.

Hopefully, Ethiopia and those folks were able to at least retain some type of revenue for helping to set the framework to make that deal possible, but we’ll see I, where I landed with this is that. The way to quote unquote, I don’t want to say save Motown because that can just seems like such a blanket statement, but if you were trying to improve it from its current inevitable state, it would be finding a way to spin off the asset and the catalog from Universal and having it be in the hands of someone else who can make it work.

The challenge is Universal isn’t going to want to give that asset up. That’s one of their most valuable back catalogs that they have. So. I was thinking through it in my mind, the same way that you have someone like a Tyler Perry, who are these modern moguls that have a bit of that Berry Gordy vibe to them.

The way that Tyler Perry is, we’ll see whether or not he ends up buying BET, but could that same mentality be applied to a record label? And then with that, you’re able to then build up your own promotion. You’re able to build up your own talent, and then you take things in a slightly different way. I still don’t think that guarantees success, but at least you shake things up in a particular way and you still give it that black ownership mentality.

You give it a bit more of that independence and the autonomy and you could potentially see what happens because. We all know what the continued fate is as a legacy entity of a catalog holder that it would be under the UMG umbrella. 

[00:53:50] Zack Greenburg: Yeah, a hundred percent. Totally agree. 

[00:53:52] Dan Runcie: And with that, I think it would be a good time to dig into some of these categories here. So what do you think is the biggest, this will may be obvious, but what do you think is the biggest signing that they’ve done or that Motown ever did? 

[00:54:04] Zack Greenburg: Yeah, I think I’d go with the Jackson 5 I mean, you know, although Motown did not ultimately profit off of MJ’s solo career, in the way that it would have if it had retained him for a solo career, Motown did profit off of the association as he became the biggest musical star, but basically entertainer of any kind in the world.

and, you know, going back to the Motown 25 moment, you know, other kinds of associations. So I would say like good process. Not really a bad outcome, but like signing the Jackson 5 could have been the path to also signing Michael Jackson as a solo artist. And then, you know, just because that didn’t work out in the end, does it mean that that wasn’t a huge signing for them?

[00:54:47] Dan Runcie: Yeah, I was going to say Jackson 5 or Stevie Wonder, which is the one that I had and I say him because of the longevity because even when times were rough, Stevie Wonder still had arguably his best decade in the 70s But, he had a number of them that were there, especially in the seventies. I think that was his strongest run and he stayed through. And I think that in a lot of ways helped bridge the gap during some of those low moments when other artists did come and went. Did come and go. So that was the one I had there.

What do you have as the best business move? 

[00:55:18] Zack Greenburg: Well, okay. This is something we haven’t talked about and maybe we should talk about it but more, but here we are, we’ll talk about it more now. I think it was Berry Gordy setting up, his publishing company. So, I mean, maybe that’s cheating a little bit because it was outside of, Motown itself but of He set up Joe bet, publishing, you know, pretty early on. And he didn’t realize, you know, his big payday for it until later 1997, but he sold it for 132 million for just for half of it. so the EMI, and then he sold another 30% for I think 109 million. And then he sold the rest of it for, something like 80 million in, what was that?

It was like 2004. So, you know, we’re talking like over a quarter billion dollars and that’s not inflation adjusted. you know, for the publishing and that, you know, that dwarfed whatever he got for Motown itself. So, and, you know, think about if he held onto it until, the recent publishing Bonanza, I mean, I mean, it could have been close to a billion dollar catalog, right?

I mean, you know, there’s nothing, really like it out there. So. He was always very smart about ownership and I think Michael Jackson knew that and, you know, studied him as a kid growing up. And that’s kind of what convinced Michael to want to own his own work, and also in the Beatles work, which then became the basis of Sony ATV.

And that was another massive catalog. So, yeah, I think the publishing side of it definitely gets overlooked and, you know, was ultimately the most, financially valuable part. But, even though it was sort of a separate. Company, you know, I would argue it, for sure it wouldn’t have happened without Motown happening.

[00:56:51] Dan Runcie: That’s a great one. And I’m glad you mentioned that. Cause definitely could get overlooked and doesn’t get talked enough about in this whole business. I think publishing in general is something that people don’t understand. And so they just don’t, dig into it, but he wrote it. I mean, he owned everything.

And obviously when you own the value. When you own something that valuable, it has its assets. And I think why publishing continues to be so valuable in the industry is because I think that the origins of the industry have always had this thought of, well, you could get anyone to go sing the song, but it takes a true genius to write the actual underlying product.

And I think we’ve seen that continue time and time again. So that worked out in his favor. The one thing that I’ll say is on the production side, this is one of the specific things he did that I did think just helped from a, output perspective, there used to be a rule at the time where a record label could only have, whether it was like one song shared in a particular time period with the radio station.

So he was the one that created all these sub labels, whether it was Tamla records or others that were all still, labels that he owned, but he would then release them time and time again and promote those. So it was a different record label that was pushing things onto the consumer, but it was still that Motown vibe.

It was still everything that was coming from Hitsville and that helped them just continue to gain and grow effectively and reach the audience. I think as well, combining that with how they were able to maximize derivative work. We talked about this a little bit with the bad boy episode, but so many ways that did he was huge on having the part one and part two of songs or having the remixes or getting the whole bad boy through on this song that was already successful, very Gordy was doing that stuff 3040 years earlier and was able to reap the rewards for that.

So I put that as one of the business moves we haven’t talked about that I do think is up there for them. That’s a really good one. I like that. Yeah. dark horse. Do you have one that doesn’t get talked about enough? 

[00:58:51] Zack Greenburg: Ooh, I’d probably say the publishing again, but, 

Yeah, I think it applies because you barely hear about it.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s such a big deal that I kind of have a hard time not, but you know, I guess, to switch things up, I mean, I would talk about maybe, I mean, you could say Motown 25 certainly, was something that Motown produced. but I mean, I’m almost say. you know, I think like the whiz is an interesting one.

 Not because it was that necessarily profitable, but because it, you know, it represented Motown’s expansion into film and, you know, like, I don’t know what you can do with a cast, of musicians. I mean, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson were in there, obviously. that’s like a seminal film and I think it was important, you know, culturally, to sort of like an immeasurable extent, you know, even if it wasn’t like the most profitable film ever made. It was like, very expensive to make it all that. But yeah, I would kind of look at that as something that was important, just for what it was and not necessarily for what it made. 

[01:00:01] Dan Runcie: That’s a good one. I was thinking about mentioning that earlier, but the timing just didn’t work. So I’m glad you mentioned that here.

Dark horse, I talked about them a little bit, but I do think the success of Boyz II Men in the 90s for Motown gets overlooked. This was the biggest group in the world at one point. I mean, they were huge. They were everywhere. And they were so commercially successful. They made music for everyone. And I know sometimes people may laugh at it and call it middle school music sometimes, but I think they were.

Just able to hit the right note, the right time for what it is. I feel like they really, of any group that has really come since the, I’d say my lifetime of actually being a music consumer, they were the ones that felt the closest to, okay, this feels like a modern continuation of Motown. If you were to say, okay, what does the success of Motown look like, but in a 90s package?

It would be Boys II men. They actually had them in an era where it was competitive, and they were quite successful. Unfortunately, it didn’t last forever, but I mean, they lasted arguably longer in popularity than a lot of the boy bands and others that came after them, in just in terms of how long that their run was.

And, you know, some of those groups may have been more commercially successful, but it’s good to see them still thriving. And the fact that they’ve been in Vegas, they have a good living. They’re able to just continue to essentially succeed at this residency model that others have caught on to themselves and have made plenty of money with, I think that they worked out pretty well for Motown.

[01:01:32] Zack Greenburg: Yeah, 

for sure. And I think they really fit with the Motown ethos, even if it’s not like the same genre exactly as, what Motown was before, it’s like, you could hear it at your aunt’s wedding, right? I mean, you can hear it at your cousin’s wedding, whatever. I don’t know why I say aunt, like everybody’s aunt is getting worse or something or like, it’s only recently getting great, but, whosoever wedding it is, you know, you could hear Motown, you could hear Boyz II Men, and I think, you know, that’s kind of the continuation of the identity. I think that’s a really good point. 

[01:01:58] Dan Runcie: Yeah, so for missed opportunity, I want to go first with this one. And this is what I was holding out on. I was going to share it in the Sylvia Roan focus, but I want to share it now. So in 2007, that’s when Sylvia Roan starts have, she’s the head of Motown just from a timeline perspective, she’s head of Motown at this point.

She starts having the conversations with Drake and there was actually some type of deal in place. And this was Drake right around that comeback season era. So far gone, wasn’t there. And according to Drake, Drake says that she says that he didn’t quite have enough to be able to, you know, make it as a true superstar.

He, of course, takes light to that he ends up working with Cash Money and then ends up working with, you know, Republic and thereafter. But this has to be a huge sliding doors moment because he has held it against where he calls Sylvia out on the song. Say what’s real the opening track of so far gone.

He ended up apologizing because he said some unkind words about her. So he didn’t apologize necessarily for the ethos behind what he said, but he apologized for his word choice. He brings it up again, two years later at like some type of award show. And then, you know, he has that song, we made it from the mixtape where he’s like a 2007.

I was in the lobby at Uptown or whatever. So he goes back to it almost in the same way that, you know, Jordan would go back to being cut on his freshman year, or Kobe is listing all the people that were drafted ahead of him. And then when you think about that in the context of the Michael Jackson, Jackson 5 thing, not working out.

Motown almost has this like Portland Trailblazers history where I feel like not getting Michael Jackson and making that work was almost like them drafting Sam Bowie ahead of Michael Jordan 1984 draft. And then years later, them not signing Drake when he was there and wanting to come through is like drafting Greg Oden over Kevin Durant if you’re the Portland Trailblazers. And can you imagine how much different Motown’s fate would be the past? 14, 15 years, if they had signed Drake, we would be having a very different conversation today. 

[01:04:07] Zack Greenburg: That’s a really great, connection. And I hadn’t really thought about it that way. Yeah, absolutely, and you know, for mine, the missed opportunity was, MJ as well.

So, you know, you kind of connect it with that through line, I also wonder if like Jermaine was something of a missed opportunity. I guess he was given kind of every opportunity, every advantage you could have had. But, you know, he had the name recognition, but it used to really connect as a solo artist.

I mean, I wonder if, they’d maybe given him more creative freedom, maybe given him less creative freedom. I don’t know that he could have really been the standout solo artist. But then again, I guess, you know, looking back in the fullness of time, you know, he was never going to be the biggest Jackson brother.

So, you know, man, I mean, I know Michael and Berry had a really good relationship. and I think that Michael’s dad and Berry you know, didn’t necessarily. So. If that had been a little different, they could have stayed. and maybe you would have seen Michael, you know, coming out of the whiz, you know, not profitable movie into making some very profitable records for Motown.

But, you know, then again, I mean, and I think that’s the big question, right? Like Michael Jackson’s records did so well because he was able to be Michael Jackson. Would Berry have sort of like prevented him from taking some of these weird risks? Like, I mean, Thriller is a weird, like, campy song, you know?

and it does not fit anything in in the Motown vibe. Do you think Berry Gordy would have been okay with this sort of like, like, you know, very bizarre music video, like dead people walking around. I mean, it’s not really in his, assembly line, you know, there are no zombies in the assembly line, for Motown.

so who knows how it would have turned out, if MJ had stayed, but, you know, I, I think one way or the other, as with all the Motown artists, right? These are all creative people and they were able to make their own, sort of, you know, put their own stamp on the world. And I think MJ would have been able to do that if he’d stayed too.

[01:05:55] Dan Runcie: And I think the same could be said about Drake as well with that timing too, of course, we’re talking about now in this context of Drake, in many ways, becoming the most commercially successful artist of the past 14, 15 years. I know you can say Taylor and a few others, but one of. But what would that look like on Motown?

We don’t know necessarily. Would they have tried to turn him into Trey Songz, and then he’s following that path, or something like that, which is something that Drake has spoken to himself. There’s clearly something about that continuity of the Cortez Bryan, and then Wayne and Young Money, and being able to have that ecosystem working together, combined with the, with Baby and Slim, combined with the folks at Republic.

There is clearly an energy there. And then, you know, if Drake was on a label that didn’t even have its own promotion or its own tools, how could that have worked out for him? So some of these hypotheticals don’t always necessarily line up, still missed opportunities, but don’t necessarily always line up.

[01:06:55] Zack Greenburg: Yeah, I think that cash money gave Drake An edge that he would not have had at Motown, you know, and simply by having that side of the hip hop world, you know, kind of cosigning him, I think it evened out, some of his tendencies in a way that, made him a more well rounded artist.

[01:07:13] Dan Runcie: Agreed. before we get to the last piece about who won the most, who lost the most, do you think that we would ever get Motown truly on the big screen? And part of me isn’t sure because obviously Dreamgirls, which people have debated whether that’s loosely veiled on Motown or not, I probably lead more to yes than not. Berry Gordy hated it. And so many people that were associated with it hated it because of how he was presented. And if that’s the reaction to Dreamgirls. Then what would the final output be of something that Berry Gordy did give his blessing on, especially if you want to be able to tell a story as nuanced as the one that we’ve been talking about now?

[01:07:56] Zack Greenburg: Yeah, no, I don’t think, he would ever greenlight anything that was like, you know, completely 100% accurate, even if it didn’t reflect so well on him. But, you know, then again, I mean, you know, his story, it might not be a hundred percent the real story, but it’s a great story, you know, so, I guess you could kind of look at it anyway. I don’t know. What do you think? 

[01:08:17] Dan Runcie: It would be a great story and I think that in the right hands, it would be really magical and unique to see something. So many of we’ve seen so many biopics now done about figures who have had complex histories. And there’s always some things that have been debated and nuanced with it as well.

I do think that for instance, I think that Elton John Rocketman one was one that I actually thought was better than most people give it credit for. And I think it was honestly better than like Elvis, the more recent movie that had made a ton of money. But I see those, I’m like, okay, they found ways to tell these things.

I don’t know if Berry Gordy himself, getting back to just him being, wanting to be in control, wanting to have everything be to a certainty. How much creative control is he going to want to offer in that way? Granted, he’s now 93 years old. I don’t know if I’m seeing him rolling up the sleeves, getting in the weeds in the same way, but it might be a while until we actually see something grace the screen like that.

[01:09:13] Zack Greenburg: I think so, too. Just wait for the Baz Luhrmann version. It’s coming. 

[01:09:19] Dan Runcie: Oh, goodness. who do you think won the most out of Motown? This is probably easier. Yeah, I think there’s 

[01:09:26] Zack Greenburg: no way to argue anything other than Berry Gordy, you know, you could make an argument for MJ. I mean, you could say that, he learned so much, that he then took out of this environment where he was really not able to earn that much money.

And then, you know, applied it in his own way, applied the lessons, not only to the music, but to the music asset buying, which was, you know, for him, I think, just as lucrative as the music itself. I mean, that’s all stuff he got from Berry Gordy, he got from Motown. So, you know, you could make an argument for MJ.

I mean, he earned by my calculations, and, you know, I have to go back and look at the exact number, but it was over a billion dollars in his lifetime. And I think it’s over 2 billion dollars since he died. And I think that’s not even adjusted for inflation. So, you know, I mean, Berry Gordy, made hundreds of millions, you know, MJ made billions.

Would he have done it if he hadn’t been in Motown? I don’t know, but, let’s say, I think he always had the talent. but, you know, the business acumen, I think he really picked up in, to a large part from, Berry Gordy, of course, he had some negative business tendencies as well.

and some other stuff, of course, that we could have a whole other episode on, but, I think at the end of the day, yeah, he learned a a lot from Berry but, you know, you still got to say Berry is the clear winner from Montana. 

[01:10:34] Dan Runcie: Yeah, I agree. Nothing else to add there. I think that was the right take. It’s Berry but there’s a case to be made for Michael. Here’s a new one. who do you think lost the most? 

[01:10:43] Zack Greenburg: Oooh Jermaine. Yeah, Jermaine. Man, you know, I mean. I don’t know, like, why didn’t it work? Can we go back and do a whole episode on that? I mean, he had the fandom, the infrastructure, he had like an international fan base. I mean, I guess, I guess it’s a matter of, you know, it’s always the risk when you have somebody who’s part of a really big group and they go out on their own and it just doesn’t, you know, have quite the same resonance, but, you know, I mean, he put everything, on Motown, you know, both in his personal life and in his, music career. And it just didn’t really quite turn out, I think like anybody had hoped. So. I’ll go with Jermaine. 

[01:11:17] Dan Runcie: Yeah, I think it’s fair because even if you look at Janet, right? It’s like she may not have had the career that Michael had, but it proved that there was an appetite for other Jacksons, like, people wanted to see this come through, and did he put it, did he bet on the wrong horse? That might be strong, but it wouldn’t be a wrong takeaway, I would say, mine is on the executive side. I could be blanket and say every executive that led Motown after Berry Gordy, because I just don’t think they were positioned the best for success.

But I do think specifically Andre Harrell, because I think if you go back to that era, he was big time. He wasn’t even in the. I mean, even beyond just music, because of everything he had when he had that Uptown and MCA deal, and he had that Strictly Business, Strictly Business movie and others, they were elevating him the same way that they were looking at this renaissance of black talent and art, whether you looked at folks like Spike Lee, especially in the post, he’s got to have it and do the right thing era, he was in that era.

He was in that frame. And I think that everything. Yeah. In a lot of ways, went downhill, at least from a public perception of, you know, global influence. Granted, I know he’s still at Harrell Records after he ended up working with Diddy again, but it was more so one of these more journeyman roles of, you know, I have this small thing that can make it work instead of being on a path to being one of the most successful black entertainment moguls from the US.

And I think that before Motown and before everything for him. A lot of the challenges and dirty laundry and things that, you know, he obviously was criticized for inefficiency as others were. But I think that there would have been an opportunity for him to be able to realize more of that potential. And it kind of makes me think of just not just categorizing him, but the same way that we look at sports where there’s certain franchises that just haven’t been able to Get beyond a certain point.

I look at the New York Nixon granted up until this point, this year, it’s been a pretty tumultuous past 20 years, especially in that post, you know, Riley, Jeff Van Gundy, 90s era. I don’t think all the coaches they had were bad, but you have this broader infrastructure with the owner and everything else going on. Like, I don’t care if you had, you actually did have Phil Jackson come through. I don’t care if you had Steve Curran, Greg Popovich come through. I think they would have struggled as well. And I think that some of that exists with Motown, but just given the structure, you have someone talented like Harrell.

And I think a lot of the image got put. On him as someone that couldn’t cut it as opposed to this broader structure, that made it tough to succeed. 

[01:13:58] Zack Greenburg: Yeah, I think that’s a really fair point. And, you know, I think that was sort of the moment when it was like, is Andre going to sort of like, continue staying ahead of his mentor, Puffy or not. And, you know, obviously he did not, and then he went from being the boss to the employee again, you know, not a bad situation, to be in working for Puffy necessarily. I mean, I guess it could be a little tough to work for Puffy sometimes is he referred, but in this case, you know, yeah, he ended up being surpassed by his own. But his own protege, shall we say, which, you know, I guess is also a mark of good mentorship to some level, but he did seem like he got kind of stymied, or hit a ceiling at some point. 

[01:14:33] Dan Runcie: Yeah, definitely. All right. Before we wrap things up on Motown, anything else that we didn’t cover that you wanted to talk through about Motown?

[01:14:40] Zack Greenburg: I think that does it. I think, you know, well, I think we could have like five more episodes, but you know, for the purposes of, the listenership, you know, probably we covered it pretty darn thoroughly, I’d say. 

[01:14:49] Dan Runcie: Agreed. Yeah, and I think this is good. All right. Well, before we wrap things up with this episode, I know you have some new stuff that you’ve been working on.

 So tell us about the JayZ index I know this is something you’ve been working on. We talked about it, a little while ago when you were brainstorming the idea, but it’s come to life and you shared it this week. So tell us about it. 

[01:15:06] Zack Greenburg: That’s right. So, you know, back in the day, I was a personal finance reporter at Forbes, and that was even before I, you know, started writing about hip hop and the entertainment business and doing biographies of Jay Z and what have you.

And so, when I was a personal finance writer, I used to do these things we called money manager profiles. And basically you just find somebody who managed private assets in an interesting way. Maybe it was like an endowment or something, and you would kind of like try to put together, something that was representative that, you know, retail investors could buy. And so it occurred to me the other day, like, you could do that with Jay Z. He has his hands and, you know, so many different pies at this point, so many of the companies that he’s been involved with are now tied to, publicly traded companies. And, you could actually create like a Jay Z Index.

So I kinda, I just sort of like started as a thought experiment. and then I dug a little bit deeper and I came up with 11 different stocks and, you know, I did allocations based on sort of what his, percentage of his overall net worth they represent. And, you know, so it goes from, you know, something as small as luxury vehicles, 2%.

I put Rolls Royce, which is publicly traded, which makes jet engines in addition to cars, because Jay Z has, you know, a private jet in addition to his, automobile collection, you know, all the way up to some of the companies that he does business with, whether it’s, you know, live nation and the rock nation partnership, LVMH, which is now, you know, his partner on Armand de Brignac, there’s a whole bunch of other stuff in there.

So I put it out on my sub stack, which you can find at Zonglong.com. It’ll take you right to the thing and to check it out. But, yeah, I just, you know, we always have put the caveats of like, investing involves risk. This is not a solicitation to buy securities or whatever, but, you know, I just thought it was really fun exercises.

I talked about it like, it’s not the same, obviously you can’t create Jay Z’s portfolio. a hundred percent, because that’s the point. That’s why a billionaire cause he does these things. He seeks them out. He attaches his name to it and they become more valuable. But I like to call it, you know, like you could build a Lego model of the empire state building, you can do that equivalent, with this portfolio. And, so actually I created a Google Finance watch list, and I’m going to track it and see how the JayZ index performs against SOP and some other benchmarks. And, you know, maybe we can talk about it again in six months or something.

[01:17:19] Dan Runcie: That’s awesome. So for all the people out there that would rather take a dinner with Jay Z instead of getting 50, 000, maybe we should check out this index. Then you can see how it compares. And maybe your money would actually be better off investing how Jay Z invests instead of passing up 50, 000 for the chance to talk to them.

[01:17:36] Zack Greenburg: Yeah, what’s his line at, I’m trying to give you a million dollars worth of game for 9.99 so trying to give you a billion dollars worth of game with the Jay-Z Index. So check it out. 

[01:17:46] Dan Runcie: Nice. And yeah, we’ll link to it in the show notes for sure. Very good. Very good stuff, man. Always a pleasure. 

[01:17:52] Zack Greenburg: All right, Dan, as always, have a good one. 

[01:17:54] Dan Runcie: You too. Take care. All right.

[01:17:56] Dan Runcie Audio Outro: If you enjoyed this podcast, go ahead and share it with a friend, copy the link, text it to a friend, post it in your group chat, post it in your Slack groups, wherever you and your people talk, spread the word. That’s how Trapital continues to grow and continues to reach the right people. And while you’re at it, if you use Apple podcast. Go ahead, rate the podcast, give it a high rating and leave a review. Tell people why you like the podcast that helps more people discover the show. Thank you in advance. Talk to you next week.

Dan Runcie

Dan Runcie

Founder of Trapital

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