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Busby, Jheryl

Jheryl Busby

Record company executive

For the Record

Sources

Times have changed, Jhery Busby, president I and chief executive officer of Motown Records, announced to Pamela Shariff in Black Enterprise and Motown cant be what it was in the 1960s. Today, I want to position this company as a beacon to black executives and to black talent. While Busby acknowledged in the New York Times that Motowns past was stellar when Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, the Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, and Diana Ross and the Supremes were regularly contributing classic songs to the Top 40, he proposed a different course for the second chapter of Motown. When Busby took office, however, he did not foresee legal battles with his promotional distributor, MCA Records, that in the early 1990s threatened to destroy his visionary aims. Nonetheless optimistic, he disclosed to Jeffrey Ressner in Entertainment Weekly, If youre a Christian like me, you realize there is a God. And the last time I checked, He was on Motowns side.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Busby attended Long Beach State College. He began his career as an inventory clerk at Mattel Toys, working his way up to new-toy coordinator. Later Busby joined Stax Recordsthe legendary Memphis-based 1960s soul alternative to Motowns crossover pop that, with its subsidiary, Volt, introduced Carla Thomas, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Booker T. and the MGs, and the Staples Singers. Eventually, Busby became head of West Coast promotion and marketing for the label. During the early 1980s, he did promotional work for several record companies, including Casablanca, CBS, A&M, and Atlantic. Employed by MCA Records as vice-president of the black music division in 1984, Busby enjoyed phenomenal success. His promotion of such established singers as Patti LaBelle and up-and-coming acts like New Edition catapulted record sales to $50 million in the mid-1980s. When he ended his career at MCA in the late 1980sas president of the black music divisionhis sector was number one in the industry in black album sales.

Offered the opportunity to head Motown in 1988, Busby told Michael Lev in the New York Times, I thought it couldnt get any better: president and CEO of probably the most important record label in America in terms of black music. But revitalizing Motown, he would find, involved a mass of legal red tape and required learning a more aggressive marketing-oriented approach to developing new talent, he revealed to Black Enterprises Shariff.

In September of 1989 Busby united Los Angeles-based Motown with its cultural counterpart on the East Coast, New York Citys mecca for black talent, the historic Apollo Theatre, to form Apollo Theatre Records, a new

For the Record

Born c. 1949, in Los Angeles, CA; children: three. Education: Attended Long Beach State College.

Record company executive. Inventory clerk, purchasing agent (in production supplies), and new-toy coordinator for Mattel Toys; regional promotional representative and head of West Coast promotion and marketing for Stax Records; independent album promoter; performed promotional duties for Casablanca, Atlantic Records, CBS Records, and A&M Records, 1980-83; began as vice-president, became president of black music department for MCA Records, 1984-88; president and chief executive officer of Motown Records, 1988; developed, with New York Citys Apollo Theatre, Apollo Theatre Records, 1989.

Addresses: Office Chief Executive Officer, Motown Records, 6255 Sunset Blvd., 17th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90026.

label that Motown would promote and distribute. Filmmaker Spike Lee and recording artists and producers Kool Moe Dee, Heavy D. and Teddy Riley, among others, were invited by Apollo Theatre Records to form an advisory committee. Performers who appeared at the celebrated Amateur Night at the Apollo and area clubs were selected by Motown and the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, owner of the Apollo, to record for the new label. When Busby announced the Apollo venture at a press conference, he asserted, as was reported in Black Enterprise, Motowns objective is to make these talented young adults into full-fledged performing artists.

Forming a training program for would-be record executives was another part of Busbys agenda at Motown as the 1980s drew to a close. He also persuaded superstar Diana Ross to come back to the Motown label, for which she had recorded some of her greatest hits, including Aint No Mountain High Enough. Busby told Richard W. Stevenson in the New York Times, Its like the queen returning home.

In 1990 Motown outscored all other record labels in the rhythm and blues category, producing five Number One hits. Busbys leadership took Motown from tenth to fourth place on the black album charts with releases like Stevie Wonders soundtrack from the motion picture Jungle Fever. And Busby registered platinum records with multimillion dollar sales after launching the careers of kiddie rappers Another Bad Creation, rhythm-and-blues crooner Johnny Gill, and the harmony-heavy Boyz II Menwhose End of the Road became the longest-running Number One single of the rock era in October of 1992.

In his effort to make Motown more profitable, Busby entered into a dispute with the labels distributor and part owner, MCA Records, a unit of Matsushita Electric Company of Japan. According to the original agreement, MCA was to manufacture, market, and promote Motown records for a relatively high fee, but by 1991 Busby had become disillusioned by the distributors performance. Black Enterprise reported that he charged the company with ineptitude and deliberate misconduct and egregious distribution failures in a lawsuit seeking to terminate Motowns contract with MCA. MCA countersued, its representatives claiming in the New York Times that Motown was unprofitable and many in the industry think of it as uninspired. Busbys next move was to establish a distribution relationship with PolyGramwhile still under contract with MCAbecause, he argued in Entertainment Weekly, MCA treated Motown like a third world company.

Embroiled in legal problems and plagued by the defection of some of the labels top talent, Busby faced litigation in the early 1990s that threatened to unsettle Motown indefinitely. With plans to merchandise the Motown label to generate income throughout the 1990s, Busby expressed regret over Motowns difficulties with MCA, telling New York Times contributor Lev, I never thought I wouldnt be able to sit down with people I spent five years with and talk about where we go in the future.

Sources

Black Enterprise, November 1989; December 1991.

Entertainment Weekly, October 25, 1991.

New York Times, February 19, 1989; May 19, 1991.

Washington Post, June 2, 1991.

Marjorie Burgess

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Busby, Jheryl 1949(?)–

Jheryl Busby 1949(?)

Record company executive

At a Glance

Sources

Times have changed, Jheryl Busby, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Motown Records, announced to Pamela Shariff in Black Enterprise, and Motown cant be what it was in the 1960s. Today, I want to position this company as a beacon to black executives and to black talent. Although Busby acknowledged in the New York Times that Motowns past was stellar when Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, the Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, and Diana Ross and the Supremes were contributing classic songs to the Top 40 regularly, he had a different vision for the second chapter of Motown. When Busby took office, he did not foresee legal battles with his promotional distributor, MCA Records, that in the early 1990s were threatening to destroy his visionary aims. With optimism, he disclosed to Jeffrey Ressner in Entertainment Weekly, If youre a Christian like me, you realize there is a God. And the last time I checked, He was on Motowns side.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Busby attended Long Beach State College. He began his career as an inventory clerk at Mattel Toys, working his way up to new-toy coordinator. Later Busby joined Stax Records, where he advanced to head of West Coast promotion and marketing. During the early 1980s, he worked as a promoter for several recording companies, including Casablanca, CBS, A&M, and Atlantic. Employed by MCA Records as vice-president of the black music division in 1984, Busby enjoyed phenomenal success. His promotion of such established singers as Patti LaBelle and up-and-coming acts like New Edition catapulted record sales to $50 million in the mid-1980s. His division was number one in black album sales when, holding the title of president of the black music division, he ended his career at MCA Records in the late 1980s.

Offered the opportunity to head Motown in 1988, Busby told Michael Lev in the New York Times, I thought it couldnt get any better: president and CEO of probably the most important record label in America in terms of black music. Revitalizing Motown, he would find, involved a mass of legal red tape and required learning a more aggressive marketing-oriented approach to developing new talent, as quoted by Shariff.

In late September of 1989, Busby united Los Angeles-based Motown with its counterpart on the East Coast, New York Citys Apollo Theatre. Together they formed Apollo

At a Glance

Born c. 1949, in Los Angeles, CA; children: three. Education : Attended Long Beach State College.

Record company executive. Inventory clerk, purchasing agent (in production supplies), and new-toy coordinator for Mattel Toys; regional promotional representative and head of West Coast promotion and marketing for Stax Records; independent album promoter; performed promotional work for Casablanca, Atlantic Records, CBS Records, and A&M Records, 1980-83; began as vice-president, became president of black music department for MCA Records, 1984-88; president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Motown Records, 1988;developed, with New York Citys Apollo Theatre, the label Apollo Theatre Records, 1989.

Addresses: Office Chief Executive Officer, Motown Records, 6255 Sunset Boulevard, 17th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90028.

Theatre Records, a new label that Motown promoted and distributed. Filmmaker Spike Lee as well as recording artists and producers Kool Mo Dee, Heavy D, and Teddy Riley, among others, were invited by Apollo Theatre Records to form an advisory committee. Performers who appeared on Amateur Night at the Apollo and at area clubs were selected by Motown and the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, which owns the Apollo Theatre, to record with the new label. When Busby announced the Apollo venture at a press conference, Black Enterprise quoted him as saying, Motowns objective is to make these talented young adults into full fledged performing artists.

Forming a training program for those who wished to become record executives was another part of Busbys undertakings at Motown as the decade of the 1980s closed. He also negotiated with rhythm and blues superstar Diana Ross to come back to the Motown label, for which she once made some of her greatest hits, including Aint No Mountain High Enough. Its like the queen returning home, Busby related to Richard W. Stevenson in the New York Times.

In 1990 Motown outscored all other record labels in the rhythm and blues category, producing five Number One hits. Busbys leadership took Motown from tenth to fourth place on the black album charts with such LPs as Stevie Wonders soundtrack from the motion picture Jungle Fever. In addition, after launching the careers of Another Bad Creation, Johnny Gill, and Boyz II Men, Busby registered platinum records with multi-million dollar sales.

In his effort to make Motown more profitable, Busby entered into a dispute with his distributor and part owner, MCA Records, a unit of Matsushita Electric Company of Japan. According to the original agreement, MCA was to manufacture, market, and promote Motown records at a relatively high fee, but by 1991 Busby was disillusioned the distributor. Black Enterprise reported that he charged the company with ineptitude and deliberate misconduct and egregious distribution failures in a lawsuit seeking to terminate Motowns contract with MCA. MCA countersued, relating in the New York Times that Motown was unprofitable and many in the industry think of it as uninspired.

Busbys next move was to change Motowns distributor to PolyGram while still under contract with MCA, because, he argued in Entertainment Weekly, MCA treated Motown like a third world company. Embroiled in legal problems and defection of personnel, including Smokey Robinson and possibly Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder, Jheryl Busby faced litigation in the early 1990s that could possibly unsettle Motowns atmosphere indefinitely. With plans to merchandise the Motown label to generate income throughout the 1990s, Busby summed up his regrets about Motowns difficulties with MCA when he told Lev, I never thought I wouldnt be able to sit down with people I spent five years with and talk about where we go in the future.

Sources

Black Enterprise, November 1989; December 1991.

Entertainment Weekly, October 25, 1991.

New York Times, February 19, 1989; May 19, 1991.

Marjorie Burgess

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Busby, Jheryl 1949(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Busby, Jheryl 1949(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/busby-jheryl-1949

"Busby, Jheryl 1949(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved December 10, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/busby-jheryl-1949