Tommy Mottola

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Tommy Mottola
Thomas Daniel Mottola

(1948-07-14) July 14, 1948 (age 75) [lower-alpha 1]
  • Businessman
  • record executive
  • television producer
  • theater producer
  • film producer
  • investor
  • entrepreneur
Known forFormer Chairman & CEO, Sony Music Entertainment
  • Chairman, Mottola Media Group
  • Cofounder, Ntertain Studios
  • Founding Partner, Range Media Partners
Lisa Clark
(m. 1971;div. 1990)
(m. 1993;div. 1998)
(m. 2000)
HonoursHollywood Walk of Fame, Recording (2019)

Thomas Daniel Mottola (born July 14, 1948) [1] is an American businessman, record executive, television producer, theater producer, film producer, investor, and serial entrepreneur. Mottola is Chairman of Mottola Media Group, cofounder of Ntertain Studios, founding partner of Range Media Partners, and was Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, parent of the Columbia label, for nearly 15 years. [2] Since 2000, he has been married to Mexican actress and singer Thalía.


Early life

Mottola was born in The Bronx to a middle-class Italian-American family. [1] He graduated from Iona Grammar School in 1962 and Iona Prep in 1966. He attended military school for a time, and then high school. After dropping out of Hofstra University on Long Island, he pursued a music career as a guitarist and singer with The Exotics, an R&B cover band. Hitmaker: The Man and His Music.

Mottola entered the music scene in the mid-1960s as a recording artist for CBS Records, under the name "T.D. Valentine". After his attempt to become a recording star himself failed, Mottola started working for publishing powerhouse Chappell Publishing and started his own management company, Champion Entertainment Organization. His role at Chappell put him in touch with many artists, and soon he signed his first successful management clients, Daryl Hall & John Oates. Mottola helped Hall and Oates land a record deal and several high-profile endorsements.

Mottola managed the black-rock group Xavion successfully using new media for promotion, such as music videos and corporate sponsorship for music tours.


In 1988, Mottola was hired by Sony Music (then known as CBS Records) by Walter Yetnikoff to run its U.S. operations. In 1990, he replaced Yetnikoff as Chairman CEO of the newly named Sony Music. While Mottola was at Sony Music, Sony expanded its businesses into over 60 countries and became the first major music company to make commercial digital downloads available. By the year 2000, Sony had over six billion dollars in annual revenue. [3]

He is widely well known among music industry professionals for signing Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Destiny's Child, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Shakira, and the Dixie Chicks, as well as for releasing digitally remastered compact discs of older recordings made by Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Andy Williams, Pink Floyd among others. [4] [5]

He also worked with Michael Jackson from the time he began recording his Dangerous album. During the promotion of Jackson's album Invincible in 2001, Jackson later stated that his relationship with Mottola dissolved based on corruption in Mottola's working practices and accused him of being a "racist who exploited black talent". Jackson stated later on that "The recording companies really, really do conspire against the artists." [6] Later, Jackson, who an advisor said could be paranoid, reportedly kept an “enemy list” on which Mottola appeared, along with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, illusionist Uri Geller, attorney Gloria Allred, DA Tom Sneddon, and Janet Arvizo, mother of a Jackson accuser. [7] Al Sharpton told the New York Post shortly after that, "I have known Tommy for 15 or 20 years, and never once have I known him to say or do anything that would be considered racist". He admitted he was "taken aback and surprised" by Jackson's remarks. "In fact, he's always been supportive of the black music industry," Sharpton said. "He was the first record executive to step up and offer to help us with respect to corporate accountability, when it comes to black music issues." [8]

After Sony

Mottola was the head of Sony Music Entertainment until January 2003. Since leaving his post as chief of Sony Music, Mottola has been building a new entertainment company, complete with recorded music, television production, theater, and fashion, alongside a branding and management company that had recently launched. He was instrumental in re-launching the various careers of such artists as Marc Anthony and Lindsay Lohan. [9] Later signings included Cassie Ventura and Mika. [10]

Mottola, in a joint venture with Universal Music Group, revived the fabled Casablanca records, signing such diverse artists as Lindsay Lohan and Mika. [11]

Mottola published a book titled Hitmaker in January 2013, which he co-wrote Cal Fussman. [12]

Mottola Media Group

Under Mottola Media Group, founded in 2003 after his departure from Sony, Mottola has gone on to produce several project, including the recent musical adaptation of Chazz Palminteri's A Bronx Tale . Palminteri credits Mottola with the realization of the new project, developed over the past two years. Mottola brought the idea for A Bronx Tale musical to producing partner Dodger Properties and "put the musical on his back". [13] The show officially opened on Broadway in December 2016 and closed on August 5, 2018. A national tour in Los Angeles began in October 2018 at the Pantages Theatre. [14]

Mottola alongside Dodger Properties produced several other musicals such as Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (2017), Jersey Boys (Off Broadway) and Ground Hog Day.

In 2018, Mottola's Mottola Media signed a multi-year first look deal with eOne to develop scripted and unscripted TV. [15]

Mottola created and produced the documentary for HBO entitled: The Latin Explosion: A new America (2015) and 15: A Quinceanera Story, which garnered a DGA nomination.


In March 2021, Mottola, along with Neon16 CEO and Co-founder Lex Borrero, and representation firm Range Media Partners formed NTERTAIN Studios – an entertainment and media company that creates, develops and produces content across multiple mediums, highlighting Latino stories and representing Latino talent, brands and culture. [16]

Current productions include Los Montaners for Disney+ (renewed [17] for a second season), Thalia's Mixtape: El Soundtrack de Mi Vida for Paramount+, La Firma (The Signing) and Neon for Netflix.

Recently, a strategic partnership [18] was established with Audio Up Media. This collaboration is focused on developing and acquiring original content across various media verticals, with an emphasis on LatinX podcast programming.

NTERTAIN is based in Miami with Mottola and Borrero heading the company in partnership with Peter Micelli, CEO of Range Media Partners. [16]

Personal life

Mottola has been married three times. He converted to Judaism to marry his first wife, Lisa Clark, daughter of ABC Records head Sam Clark, in 1971. The couple divorced in 1990, after having two children. [1]

On June 5, 1993, Mottola married his second wife, Mariah Carey. They announced their separation on May 30, 1997, [19] and later divorced on March 5, 1998. He married his third wife, Thalía, on December 2, 2000, at New York City's St. Patrick's Cathedral. [20] Their daughter was born in October 2007, [21] and their son was born in June 2011. [22]

Awards and Recognitions

Written works


  1. Sources differ on when Mottola was actually born – but the majority state July 14, 1948. [1]

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