Motown Convention Hypes 1970 Fall Happenings ala San Francisco Chartered
SAN FRANCISCO — Motown disclosed sweeping sales increases on all fronts during its sales convention here last week prior to unveiling an impressive 37-LP new fall product release.
The meeting here marked the firm’s 10th anniversary and also served as the company’s first international convention attended by representatives from its affiliates in the U.K., Holland, Canada, Mexico, Australia and Japan, in addition to its U.S. distributors and their wives.
Phil Jones, Motown’s director of sales, told distributors that the company’s total singles sales during the first six months of 1970 increased by 14.7 per-cent over the same period of 1969 despite the fact that there were three fewer releases this year.
He said that the average sale per singles release during the past 12 months amounted to 618,000. The total percent of singles sales increase since 1960, Jones said, reached 2,400 per-cent.
Jones said that 18 out of 24 singles released during the first six months of this year made the charts, giving Motown a batting average of .750.
In the tape field, Motown showed a 70.8 percent increase during the first half of this year over sales for the same period of 1969, according to Jones. He said that his firm was one of the first to handle its own tape CARtridge production and helped pioneer the field. He said that since 1966, the four -year period showed a 2,600 percent sales increase in Motown’s prerecorded tape product.
On the album front, Jones said, the first six months of this year showed a 37.1 percent LP sales increase over the like period during 1969. Since 1961, the company’s LP sales have increased 5.600 percent, Jones said.
Among the incredible statistics Jones tossed at the distributors was Motown’s 10-year singles chart batting average. Jones said that during Motown’s decade the company released 535 singles. Of these, 357 made the charts, giving it a percent- age of 66.7 of all the singles it has released hitting the charts.
In announcing the new fall product, Motown revealed it was adding a new label, Black Forum, which will be devoted to “the presentation of ideas and voices of the worldwide struggle of black people to create a new era. Black Forum also serves to provide authentic material for use in schools and colleges and for the home study of black history and culture.”
Three LP’s were introduced in launching the Black Forum line. These consisted of a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. album dealing with his opposition to the Viet Nam war, an album featuring black poets Langston Hughes and Margaret Danner, and an LP devoted to Stokely Carmichael.
The fall product array included a Temptations Greatest Hits LP and a Martha Reeves & the Vandellas album on the Gordy label; Earl Van Dyke, Jimmy Ruffin, Jr. Walker and the All Stars, the Ruffin Brothers, The Originals, and Gladys Knight & the Pips on Soul; the VIP line offered LP’s featuring Chuck Jackson, a new group called the Hearts of Stone, and an album by the Spinners produced by Stevie Wonder. On the Rare Earth label, new LP’s included a release by a new English group, Sounds Nice (the group was named by Paul McCartney), and albums featuring Power of Zeus, Lost Nation which was produced by Ollie McLaughlin, Holland’s top chart riders The Cats, who will be on tour in the U.S. this fall, the Poor Boys, and Rare Earth.
An eight-LP release on the Motown label will feature the Jackson 5, the Supremes, the Four Tops, an album packaging the Supremes with the Four Tops and the Magnificent 7, Gordon Staples and the Strong Things, volumes 1 and 2
of a new series called Chartbusters (this features a gold foil package with only the color of the type on the sleeve being changed from one release to
the next for easy identification purposes), with each Chartbuster package featuring established Motown names, and an album of Diana Ross to round out the Motown label portion of the fall offering.
On Tamla, the new release included albums by the Marvelettes with this LP produced by Smokey Robinson; Marvin Gaye in a package of his 16 biggest sellers; and an album of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.
The Chisa label features Letta, the Hugh Masekela South African discovery.
4 Yule Packages
In addition to these LP’s, the firm unveiled four Christmas packages. These featured Yuletide product by the Temptations (Gordy), an album of various artists on Motown (Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles), Smokey Robinson & the Miracles (Tamla), and the fourth holiday package, the Jackson 5 (Motown). Tom Schlesinger, in charge of the firm’s graphics supervision, was credited with producing the sales presentation.
The meetings convened on Aug. 28 and were concluded Aug. 31 afternoon. They consisted of a well organized schedule of activities, highlighted by a banquet and show on Aug. 30. The show featured performances by Jimmy and David Ruffin, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and following the intermission, Rare
Earth and the Jackson 5.
Bobby Darin, newly signed to Motown, and Smokey Robinson were co-masters of ceremonies.
Each performer brought a standing ovation. The last two acts on the bill brought the house down. Despite the late hour, the distributors applauded loud and long for the Jackson 5 clamoring for more.
Berry Gordy Jr., Motown’s president, addressed the distributors and members of his own company prior to the show stressing that the company was celebrating its 10th anniversary. He recalled the circumstances surrounding the birth of Motown, and related some of the milestones in its growth. His brief talk was comprised of a mixture of nostalgia and humor.
Welcoming remarks to all assembled were delivered by Barney Ales, Motown’s executive vice president and general manager. Ales singled out the presence of international representatives at the convention, and then introduced Gordy.
Among the guests attending the festivities were Mr. and Mrs. Berry Gordy Sr. Representatives from abroad included from the U.K. Ken East (EMI), Philip Brodie (EMI), John Reid (EMI), John Marshall (from the London Tamla-Motown operation), and Bill Fowler (Carlin Music).
Other international representatives attending were George Barlow (EMI), Australia; John Bush (EMD, Mexico; Gerry Oord (EMI) and Pete Felleman (EMI), Holland, and Don McKim (Phonodisc), Canada. Representatives from Japan included Joshihisa Honda (Victor of Japan) and Kazuo Hoshino (Cosdel). END
Information, credit, and news source: Billboard; September 12, 1970
Note: All photos featured herein courtesy Billboard from issue as dated.
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