Magazine article Variety

The Tommy Mottola Legacy Lives On

Magazine article Variety

The Tommy Mottola Legacy Lives On

Article excerpt

THOMAS D. MOTTOLA, as he began to call himself as he headed up the ladder at CBS Records and then Sony, played an integral role in the music industry. His success during the 15 years he spent guiding CBS Records into its brave new world corresponded with explosive growth for the business, but with it came tectonic changes, from MTV through the CD era until the bubble burst at the dawn of the Napster era.

Last month's announcement that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will be headlining the Super Bowl halftime show in 2020 has Mottola's fingerprints all over it, as he was the one who helped launch their music careers. In fact, Mottola can be credited for what he calls the Latin Explosion, which has continued in the wake of Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and Ricky Martin, all artists he helped cross over to the mainstream.

You could say Mottola was ahead of his time in many respects. Long before the industry immolated, he recognized the need for record labels to be involved in all aspects of the brands they helped create, the 360-degree model that became the standard after he left the building. And even before Jimmy Iovine made his deal with Apple, Mottola was pushing Sony to hook up with Steve Jobs' company, which the Sony hierarchy saw as competition, not colleagues.

In his 2013 book, "Hitmaker: The Man and His Music," Mottola only points out three people he felt betrayed him - Sony's Nobuyuki Idei, the executive who ultimately decided to relieve Mottola of his duties, Howard Stringer and Robert Sam Anson, author of the infamous Vanity Fair article that portrayed him in a darkened room as a mafia don. …

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