Southern Gospel Perspective

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

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Location: United States

8/26/2005

Financial status

Much has been said recently about the financial status of Southern Gospel and its artists. Some of this conversation has been brought on by current events such as Gold City's Band coming off the road. The speculation being they can no longer afford to pay the band.

If this is the case, then it is certainly disturbing, but not very surprising news. I would think if any group could afford to support a "full" band, it would be Gold City. Perhaps with their somewhat recent personnel changes, things are not going as well as in the past. Another change for Gold City is they are going to booking thru The Harper Agency instead of handling it "in-house" as they have been doing. This may (or may not) be part of the same problem (financial).

In addition, the fuel prices that are affecting all of us must really be difficult on SG groups who travel by large buses which get very poor fuel mileage. So they have necessary expenses going up with no real way of passing that expense along to the consumer (fan).

All of this along with the already shaky ground that exists in the SG financial world, and we may have a looming crisis.

What to do about it? Well, it is obvious there are some things beyond the groups' control. They cannot do anything about fuel prices. There is very little margin for changing their product pricing (people will just quit buying). They must continue to pay their performers (although in GC's case they did reduce this overhead via elimination of the Band of Gold). The pay for SG artists is not all that great anyway, so reducing salaries is not a good option either.

So where do we go to increase revenue and reduce cost? One thing that GC seems to have determined is that they need more dates (thus joining with Harper). I would even venture that they need more and BETTER dates. Singing on a Sunday night at the local First Baptist with 100 people in the audience is not going to be the answer.

I think more cooperation between groups (good, high quality groups like GC anyway) would go a long way to providing better attendance and better finances. Maybe try to do more "super concerts" (don't read Gaither-style here). The real problem with this is the promotion. There has to be very aggressive promotion and a lot of thought put into timing and venue for such events. With all these parameters maxed out, a well-attended, financially successful concert can occur. I know there are some of these going on now. However, this has to become the norm not the exception before groups can move beyond the bare minimum in their financial situation.

I think promotion in SG has let the artists down. Not all, by any means. But as a whole, the reliance on outside promotion is a failure. Groups need to begin handling more of this part of the dynamic themselves. Hire a full-time promoter. I know this is additional expense, but in the long run it could pay off incredibly if the right person is hired.

Just some thoughts and ideas. More to come...

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