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  1. #1

    Motown Licensing Agreements

    I often wondered about licensing agreements that Motown entered into with other record companies. Although I do not think it is a common occurrence but periodically it happens.

    For example the Isley Brothers 60's Greatest Hits and Rare Classics from 1991 [37463 54832] includes Twist and Shout and It's Your Thing. The label reads (under license from CBS Special Products, a Division of CBS Records, Inc.).

    This is not a common practice as far as I can tell. Most individual CDs only include Motown releases, but there are exceptions. For example, the Marvin Gaye box sets usually include some of his other Columbia releases designated Sony Music Entertainment. The Temptations box set Emporers of Soul includes some of their other Atlantic releases. The Four Tops box sets include some of their Chateau, Chess, Columbia, and Riverside releases.

    I often wonder how the licensing of other labels songs works. Do they pay outright, get a percentage of the sales, or what? I don't recall ever seeing any discussion on this subject, but I might have missed it.

    Any thoughts on this would be super. Thanks.

  2. #2
    from my experience at working at labels in the 90s to early 2000s you would have to pay another label a fee up front then a percentage of sales of the product went to whoever owned the publishing rights of the track..im not sure about the performance artists fee from what i observed at EMI,Virgin & Warners they were shady deals all over the place,power games and trade offs over using another labels catalog some artists which i refer to as the "A" list (madonna beatles etc) could be way beyond the budget of the project to even be considered ..many "B" Or "C" level catalog havent seen a royalty cheque in many many yrs even Michael Jackson legally went after Universal in 2001 for not paying him J5 royalties

  3. #3
    Great question. Motown has had a lot of licensing deals like this over the years. Think of the many soundtrack albums they've released and the likes of The Big Chill and Girl Groups Story Of A Sound etc. Must pay them to do it.

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