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Gospel Music Times Feature Article
A Proud Gospel Music Critic
by The Gator

You know, folks, I'm nothing but an ordinary gator, trying to eke out a life built around Gospel music. Yes, I am a critic. I wear that title proudly. If critics didn't exist, there would be no one to help keep an industry in check. And Gospel Music needs more critics.

I am continually amazed at those who fall for the "I can make you a star" line. Why is it that folks who sing Gospel music are so hungry to get on a stage that they will pay hundreds of dollars to sing to a crowd made up only of other people who have paid hundreds of dollars to get up on stage? What does that profit anybody? Do you honestly think these desperate people are going to become new fans and buy their music? Of course not! They don't have any more money than you do, because they are spending it all trying to get on stage to sing!

But wait, there's more! This industry feeds on people who have not perfected their craft, can't maintain pitch, have no stage presence, yet somehow can come up with $15,000.00 to record an album. Radio promoters who put 25 or 30 artists on a cd they call a "compilation" and then send that out to radio stations who, knowing the quality of singers that promoter sends out, promptly throws the comp disc in the trash, except for some poor little struggling AM station or internet station who will play anything sent their way. And you get this wonderful service for several thousands of dollars per year!

And here is another pet peeve of mine: the industry has convinced people that, in order to be successful, they have to have a bus to go to their concerts in. You may only be traveling to a church with a few dozen members, but you'll look good when you pull up! How foolish that is. Unless you are traveling full time, and I mean FULL TIME, that bus will never pay for itself. In fact, most of the time it won't pay for itself even if you are full time. Get yourself a van with a small trailer to carry your luggage and sound equipment. It's much less expensive to maintain and operate.

I'm so tired of seeing people being taken advantage of. Are there good promoters out there? Yes! Are there good recording companies out there? Yes! But you have to peel back so much of the onion to get to where they are that the average person will never figure out how to navigate to them.

So I'm going to give you some good old, common sense advice: SAVE YOUR MONEY. Don't go thousands of dollars in debt for a product you're not ready for. Look at it this way - if you spend $15,000.00 and you sell your CDs for $15.00, you will have to sell one thousand CDs before you break even on your initial investment, not counting any interest from a loan you may have taken out. Focus on ministering to people. Build your audience with social sites like Twitter, Facebook and Reverbnation. Once you have a large enough fan base, then you can start to look at the benefits of these more expensive items. Until then, you are throwing your money away.

I know a gentleman who has never sent a song to radio, he's never paid $15,000.00 for a recording project, and he's never bought a huge bus to travel in; yet, he has become very successful in traveling and ministering in churches and schools - yes, I said schools - across the nation. He isn't rich, but he's making a good living doing what he loves, traveling the country full-time for the Lord. He focused on building his fan base, and he's featured now in hundreds of videos on YouTube, many of which were posted by his fans. He is the line we need to measure ourselves by.

In closing, let me say that I'm not against moving to the next level if you're ready, but if you haven't built your fan base yet, then you're not ready. It's simple arithmetic; one and one still equals two, unless you're on Common Core - then, it equals eleven.

Chomp, chomp!!

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