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Motown Records System Explained Pt. 3: Berry’s Quality Control

This week on the Motown Records System explained I'm diving into Berry Gordy's quality control process that he picked up while working at the Ford Motor Company. This may be the most informative video in the series so far. The quality control process at Motown records is the meat and potatoes of what every record company wants to use from Berry's process. Check it out!


Quality - Noun: Property; that which belongs to a body or substance, or can be predicated of it.

Control - Noun: 1. Primarily, a book, register, or account, kept to correct or check another account or register; a counter register.

Verb: 1. To keep under check by a counter-register or double account.

Verb: 2. To check; to restrain; to govern.

Quality Control Process

  • Quality control was something Barry picked up from the Ford Motor Company.

  • You bring your record in on said artist and then you play it and then you get a vote.

  • The company is only as strong as its weakest link.

  • Everybody looks at the company as a whole when the records get put out.

Constructive Criticism

  • Having a council is necessary because your personal opinion does not depict public opinion.

  • It is great to also have a council of people to give you constructive criticism on whether or not your record is great

Training and Systems

  • The songwriters and band members were structured, they were cultivated, they knew how to make records, they were trained to do so to the highest quality.

  • Through the quality control voting system the producers and songwriters were able to make high-quality records from constructive criticism from within the company.

Hooking the audience

  • If you don't get them in the first 4 to 8 bars you’ve got to go back to the drawing board.

  • If You got to get them in the first 10 seconds it won't be memorable.

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