When Erykah Badu tweets, people sure do listen.
Wednesday afternoon, the soultress caused a full on frenzy when she tweeted only two words: “Motown folded”
Within minutes of Erykah’s tweet, hundreds of her followers hit their retweet button and #ripmotown tribute tweets began pouring out.
Today, label heads sought to do some rumor control and ease the web panic that has spun out of control.
Top executives at Universal told Billboard that although the label is undergoing restructuring the the wake of Sylvia Rhone’s departure last month, it is not folding. At the time of Rhone’s departure, UMG planned to begin interviewing candidates to replace her, although what title that person will get depends on the qualifications he or she brings to the job. With Barry Weiss serving as the chairman/CEO of Island Def Jam and Universal Motown Republic Group, it is not clear that the replacement will hold the title of president, insiders said.
Motown’s former president, Sylvia Rhone was responsible for overseeing the label’s artist roster which includes Miss Badu. Rhone also oversaw the careers of Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj through Universal’s Cash Money and Young Money subsidiaries. An official replacement has not been named but General Manager, Pat Monaco is currently running the label from day to day.
In a statement after Rhone’s departure. the label said:
We remain committed to [Motown] as a strong presence in the contemporary music scene. We will soon announce important additions to the staff and will further invest in building its artist roster so Motown can continue to bring to market the highest quality music that is best positioned to succeed artistically and commercially.
Though the iconic label gets its name from Detroit, Motown moved to Los Angeles under founder Berry Gordy directions in 1972. Since then, the label has been sold three times- in 1988 to MCA records, in 1994 to PolyGram and in 1995 when it was acquired by Seagram and changed the company name to Universal Music Group. Of Motown’s original iconic acts, only Stevie Wonder remains on the label’s artist roster.