GMA President Frank Breeden - Questions & People
- Saturday, April 01, 2000
Let Me Be Frank With You
By Frank Breeden, President of the Gospel Music Association (GMA)
You can tell a lot about a community by the questions it asks about its future. As questions go, I think we deserve high marks for our current repertoire. While not a complete list by any means, here are a few questions many are asking:
Will our music continue to grow at a steady and impressive rate?
Will television households finally be able to access a channel dedicated to our music?
Will our music formats occupy more FM slots in markets where we are conspicuously absent?
What role will satellite radio play in the delivery of our music?
Will brick-and-mortar retailers embrace and utilize e-commerce technologies and strategies sufficiently to remain a vital force in selling our music?
Will e-commerce companies who sell our music help build our audience base and produce incremental growth?
Will disputes with companies like MP3 and Napster resolve in favor of intellectual property owners (songwriters, publishers, artists and record labels)?
Will we see a breakthrough in mainstream brands endorsing our artists and supporting our tours?
Can we recruit the needed executive talent to further build and sustain the infrastructure that will help our music grow?
Questions like these indicate we live in very interesting and challenging times. While we must address these issues and many more, we must not allow them to distract us to the point of neglecting our main concern: the music. Specifically, our music community must remain focused on discovering, developing and marketing new talent. We should be encouraged that many of our industry leaders continue to make this a top priority.
Signing and breaking a new artist is an expensive and risk-filled proposition. There are no set formulas that guarantee success. Beyond the work of the record label, our entire community must partner to help nurture and sustain an artist's growth. When we see an artist's career continuing into multiple album releases, we witness the results of a true team effort on the part of our community.
I know no better way for each of us to fulfill our respective roles in developing a new artist than to get to know who they are and what they are all about. Whatever your occupation (radio, retail, concert promotion, management, publicity, media, legal, booking, distribution, youth leadership, record label, sound engineer, songwriter, studio singer, etc.), nothing will enhance your job performance like getting to know the artists as real people, the people behind the promotion and production.
Of all the great things that will happen at Gospel Music Week 2000, the week of April 16-20 will give us all a chance to do just that. Beyond the great fellowship, worship, networking, education and fun, GM 2000 promises to deliver many of those "I was there when" moments. Whether a late night showcase, an evening concert, or a quick chat in a reception, the week is filled with opportunities to witness some exciting artistic beginnings.
We can't wait for you to experience some of these new artists for the very first time. In addition to their music, their life stories and testimonies about how God has worked in their lives will utterly inspire you. Sure, we'll talk about the challenges we face in this new century. And we'll leave the convention not knowing how some of the questions posed earlier will be answered. But, when the convention is over, I predict you will be truly encouraged by the artists who represent the future of our music. It is a bright future and I hope you'll be here to witness it firsthand!
For more on Gospel Music Week, head to http://www.gospelmusic.org.
Reprinted from GMA Today, courtesy of Frank Breeden and the Gospel Music Association
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