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Motown is an American record company founded by Berry Gordy, Jr. in 1959 in Detroit, Michigan, in the United States. The name, a portmanteau of motor and town, is also a nickname for Detroit. Motown played an important role in the racial integration of popular music by achieving a crossover success. In the 1960s, Motown and its subsidiaries were the most successful proponents of what came to be known as "The Motown Sound", a style of soul music with a distinct pop influence. During the 1960s, Motown achieved spectacular success for a small record company: 79 records in the Billboard Top Ten between 1960 and 1969.

Gordy originally set up two nominally separate labels (Tamla Records and Motown Records) in 1959, in order to avoid accusations of payola should DJs play too many records from one label. The two labels featured the same writers, producers and artists, and they were both formally incorporated together as Motown Record Corporation (commonly referred to simply as "Motown") on April 14, 1960.

Early Tamla/Motown artists included Mable John, Eddie Holland and Mary W