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Founded: 1959

Founded by: Barry Gordy, Jr

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Probably the most well-known R&B label -- perhaps the only other label that really comes close is Stax or perhaps Chess -- Motown is known mostly for their distinctive sound (created by the in-house band The Funk Brothers). The original Motown records all have a similar feel without sounding derivative of one another; perhaps due to the various styles of R&B they were doing -- solo singers, vocal groups and other styles all had a home on Motown. In later years, they experimented with subsidiary labels directed more at Rock audiences and, strangely enough, Country audiences, but most of those experiments ended up failing aside from a few artists like Rare Earth. Motown is still going today, although they no longer have a distinctive "Motown" sound like the old records had, though many of their new artists are still very successful on the R&B charts.

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