From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Morgan Khan is a music mogul and entrepreneur well-known in the UK during the 1980s. He played a large part in making various genres of urban music more accessible to UK consumers of Black and urban music after his founding of the iconic StreetSounds record label.
Khan has been actively involved in the recording industry since 1978 in various capacities including A&R, promotions & marketing, producing, publishing, artist management, concert promoting and executive company management in addition to his significant record label. During his early career he worked for such names as PRT Distribution (a division of Pye Records) and R&B Records; at the time Imagination were their up and coming stars of the day.
Born in Hong Kong and of Anglo-Indian parentage, Khan moved to London, England in 1969. His father Capt. Richard Khan (1926 – 1995) was an airline pilot and his mother a retired Air Hostess. Khan has an older brother, Richard and another brother, Henry, has died.
Work with artists
Khan developed numerous artists who became multi-platinum recording artists, including Jamiroquai, Dina Carroll, and Humanoid, as well as doing various work with seminal artists like Barry White, Edwin Starr, Rose Royce, Gladys Knight, Al Green, Donna Summer and Boogie Down Productions.
StreetSounds and its' influence
Khan is best known, however, for his StreetSounds compilation series, which originally grew out of his own Streetwave record label. StreetSounds covered soul, funk, boogie and jazz, but the Streetsounds Electro/Hip-hop series in particular is credited with being a significant force in helping electro and hip hop cross over from cult status to the mainstream in the UK, and he organised and promoted "UK Fresh", the first hip hop festival on British soil. He also found time to be involved in the setting up of Westside Records, an album-focused label less overtly commercial/trendy than StreetSounds, that released mainly jacking and early acid house.
The most successful and influential part of Khan's formula was his practice of licencing US import tracks to his UK StreetSounds and Streetwave record labels. At the time, imported vinyl recordings of urban and club music tended to be expensive and have limited availability. Before StreetSounds, US dance music releases often took a long time to be licenced and released in the British (and European) market, and sometimes didn't appear at all. Morgan Khan's value-for-money, well-selected compilations and single releases fed and influenced a growing demand for black club music, soul, jazz-funk, electro, hip hop, house and Hi-NRG as these mostly US-based genres gained popularity during the relative post-punk decline of rock and pop amongst style-conscious young adults in British cities.
Morgan Khan's sharp eye for trends, fast-paced release scheduling, talent for publicity and hype led to him not only promoting his own label, but also the dance music scene as a whole. He was well-known (and disliked in some quarters) for his high personal profile and as a self-publicist; and admired in others for his business acumen, and for representing an Asian success story in a less stereotypical field. Fans of Streetsounds releases admired his insistence on including only full-length versions of tracks, against the previous tradition in music [compilation albums]. Streetsounds albums represent the soundtrack for many UK soul boys and b-boys as they came of age in the mid-80s.
The StreetSounds label went into insolvency in 1988, mainly as a result of losses incurred by StreetScene, Khan's club music magazine.
Recent Khan major projects have included the Universal Music Black music retrospective "Back To Black - 100 years of Black Music" 10 CD box set - a major black music compilation project.