MCA

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The Music Corporation of America (or MCA) was an American corporation in the music and television businesses. The successor company is Universal Music Group. MCA published music, booked acts, ran a record label, and distributed television productions and home videos.

MCA was founded as a music booking agency based in Chicago, Illinois in 1924 by Jules Stein. MCA helped pioneer modern practices of touring bands and name acts. Prominent early MCA booked artists included King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton.

Lew Wasserman rose through the ranks to MCA for more than four decades, with Sonny Werblin as his right-hand man. Other executives within MCA were Presidents, Sidney Sheinberg and Lawrence R. Barnett, and Ned Tanen, head of Universal Pictures. Tanen was behind Universal hits such as “Animal House,” and John Hughes’s “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club.”

Wasserman expanded the company’s presence into television (founding EMKA, Ltd., which owns the copyright to much of the pre-1948 Paramount Pictures theatrical sound feature film library and Revue Studios, the top supplier of television for all broadcast networks, spanning three decades). He also purchased the Universal Studios studio lot, but not the studio itself, in 1958.

MCA entered the record music business in 1962 with the purchase of the New York based US Decca branch, including Coral Records and Brunswick Records. As Decca owned Universal Pictures, MCA assumed full ownership of Universal and made it into the top film studio in town, producing hit after hit.

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