Henry Stone On The RIAA: “I Never Joined, They Were Full Of Shit”
“I was a distributor when CD’s came in. That’s what almost killed me. I hadda buy all those CDs! Along with still carrying LP’s, you hadda give em an order for, let’s say in the very beginning when the CDs first came out…Let’s say you were gonna order 100 units of something, you’d order 60 LPs and 40 CDs and then of course it started to change. You started ordering 60 and 40 the other way, then 70 and 30, and then eventually the LPs got eliminated and it was all CDs. Everything came out on CD form.
And I was a distributor. I was there. I was a distributor right through…even when I had TK, I had Tone Distributing.
I didn’t give up my distribution. In fact, today Inez is going out with Cheryl Regan who’s Russ Regan’s wife, and 20th Century is one of the labels I actually distributed when I had TK. I had big records with Barry White and “Kung Fu Fighting,” those were both Russ Regan yknow.
So I still had my Tone Distributing while I had TK. Thats when I became so huge that whoooo…hahaha. Tone wasn’t as big cause the independents started to do their own thing, their own distrobutions, Motown, Warner Bros, Atlantic yknow, and then suddenly labels like Arista, I had Arista which was Clive Davis, he ended up selling out to Columbia by the way, so I lost that line yknow.
TK became my big million dolla….multi million dolla operation with all those hit records. Hit artists. I built KC and The Sunshine Band, I built Latimore, I built George McCrae, I built Gwen McCrae, Jimmie Bo Horne, Little Beaver, Blowfly, Betty Wright….I built these artists just like Motown did their artists. I didn’t have just one hit. Every once in a while I’d get a one hit artist, same with Motown havin a one hit artist, but most of their things were building Supremes and the Tempts, they built their artists. I built my artists too like KC, I had 5 number one records with KC and three platinum LPs yknow. LPs. It was still LP time yknow in the 70s
I never became RIAA certified, I never joined that organization. I thought they were full of shit, just a way to rip the majors off, but the majors were in there they like controlled it yknow. All the majors were a part of it. They tried to get me join and I said nah man that’s a majors thing I dont wanna get involved with that. I just turned em down. I member a lot of the independents turned em down. I know Morris Levy never used the RIAA. They knew it was controlled by the majors. Big business. That was all part of it.”
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