Southern Gospel Perspective

My thoughts and opinions about Southern Gospel Music, both past and present. Feel free to comment and criticize...

Location: United States


Problems in Southern Gospel (Part 3)

3. Way too little promotion.

Many times I will learn about what would have been a great concert... three days after it occurred. This is a very prevalent problem in SG. If we want our audiences to increase, they HAVE to know about the concerts in their area. A great example of promotion at its finest is the Gaither Homecoming Concerts. These events are advertised early and often. Not only that, but they do not rely entirely on SG radio for the promotion. I've seen their advertisements on local TV and secular radio stations. This is the type of promotion that is needed in our industry.

So, who is to blame for this problem? Well there is plenty to go around, IMHO.

One culprit is SG radio. I know I've already given my opinions about the low quality of these stations, but this is another area where they fall far short of what they could be. For example, there is one SG station in an area I travel that refuses to even advertise a concert if there are tickets sold. How is this benefiting the station, the artist, or the genre as a whole? PLEASE, SG radio wake up and do some legwork to get the information necessary to promote any and ALL concerts in your listening areas!

Some blame has to fall on the promoters themselves. I know that not all SG concerts are "promoted", but the ones that are should be done with professionalism and energy. There are several promoters who do a great job and they aren't the ones I'm talking about. It's the ones who call the artist, book the venue and then "let 'er happen". Too many promoters are simply fans who want to get an artist in their area. I say there is nothing at all wrong with this if the promoter will get out there and PROMOTE! Get the information on the radio (SG and secular), get fliers in the local Christian bookstores and local churches, call local Christian business persons and ask them if you can advertise on their storefronts. In other words, put a LOT OF EFFORT into it. This more than anything (quality groups and venues withstanding) will bring the fans to the seats.

The artists themselves must carry some blame as well. Artists could do much to promote themselves, if they would. Print up professional-looking fliers that can be easily modified and send them ahead for promoters/churches to use in advertising. This may seem too expensive at first glance, but I think the dividends would outweigh the initial investments. Also, many artist travel the same areas thru the year and could do some promotional work in advance of upcoming concerts, even if it was just mentioning it from the stage.

Booking agents and artists alike could do a much better job with their concert listings on their websites. These should be VERY visible and should be constantly and continually up to date. They should also include every concert, not just the higher profile ones.

There are many areas for improvement in promoting SG concerts, I think some of the above would go a long way toward that end.

Again, the Gaither model of promotion is a great example of how it can and should be done.


Blogger ROF said...

Promotion is a huge key, but the cost of promotions is a "HUGE" barrier. Have you checked to see what advertising on a small radio station costs? It is prohibitive, and the big market stations are outrageous. It takes money to make money, but outside of the "Gaithers" of this world, most SG groups and promoters do nopt have enough money to "do it right". The only thing that can really be done in an "in-expensive" way, is to hit the pavement. Send e-mails, get pictures and posters in the hands of churches and business' and flood the papers with general info articles. It is a very hard task and to time consuming for most.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Southern Gospel Perspective said...

Thanks for the comments rof! I understand what you are saying, but if we don't promote and do it the "right way", our genre is not going to grow like it could otherwise.

I would suggest booking "top-notch" groups and getting high quality facilities. I'm talking about a several group event with groups like Gold City, Greater Vision, Hoppers, etc. No local/regional groups, only the very best national groups. Then let the public know about it, make it a regular event.

Maybe try to work an arrangement with local radio to have their banners, etc. displayed at the event in trade for an advertising discount. Perhaps find a local DJ who enjoys SG and would be willing to emcee the event. I think there are several ideas that can work and all of them should be explored.

2:50 PM  

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