GMA Hosts First GMA Honors Event

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Last night marks a special night in history for the Christian and Gospel music industry as the first ever GMA Honors event took place. I must admit, I was a bit skeptical when I received the first notice about the upcoming event. Not fully understanding the concept of the event, my initial thoughts were “Do we really need another Christian and Gospel awards show?”  What I experienced though turned out to be quite a special event and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to attend.

The GMA Honors took a different approach than one might expect from an awards show. Combining the induction of recipients into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame with honoring people & organizations who have significantly impacted the world through their work with Christian and Gospel music proved to be a great concept. It was a heart-moving evening as we were reminded of the purpose for Christian and Gospel music.

Hall of Fame Inductees included Brown Bannister, Rich Mullins, Take 6 and the Gaither Vocal Band. Brown Bannister was celebrated with an acoustic performance by Amy Grant & Bannister’s daughter Ellie Holcomb singing “El Shaddai” while accompanied by Vince Gill on guitar. That my friends was a moment! We were blessed with a stellar performance from Take 6 and the evening closed with David Crowder singing an amazing version of Bill & Gloria Gaither’s “Because He Lives!”

Honorees included Dr Bobby Jones, Don Moen, Michael Guido, Show Hope and World Vision. Highlights included DC Talk’s Michael Tait, Tobymac and Kevin Max on the stage together to honor Michael Guido, a man who has pastored and counseled many artists, musicians and their families for the last 16 years through his PR Ministries. One of the evening’s special moments was hearing the hearts of Steven Curtis Chapman and wife Marybeth Chapman talk about Show Hope, the organization they founded to help orphans in distress around the world.

The evening was a nice departure from the normal award shows that are merely popularity contest which create competitiveness and boost egos. Instead, individuals and organizations were recognized for the positive impact that have contributed to the world. Much appreciation goes out to the GMA, CAA’s John Huie (who birthed the idea), David Lipscomb University for hosting and Six Degrees Touring for the sound and lights that made for an unforgettable evening!

 

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Gospel Music Association… “We Are Nashville Again”

It’s been a few years since the Gospel Music Association made the radical decision to move the Dove Awards to Atlanta. The most popular post in the history of this blog was titled Gospel Music Association…”We Are Not Nashville.” It was a post that questioned the move during a time when Nashville was recovering from the big flood of 2010. Thankfully, the GMA found new leadership who appear to be steering the ship back in a positive direction and away from the looming iceberg it was headed for.

My two year boycott of the Dove Awards was forced to end by the nomination of our artist, OBB, in the Pop Contemporary Album category along with the show moving back to Nashville. That gave me a reason to test drive the Dove Awards once again.

Jackie Patillo, current leader of the GMA, and her team did a wonderful job with the show this year. Production was at a high level despite the low budget they have to work with and the location of Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena felt like a perfect fit. Most genre’s were represented fairly with performances throughout the evening and the host combinations of Bone Hampton & Chonda Pierce and Kirk Franklin & Amy Grant played out well. Performances by NeedToBreathe, Tobymac, Jason Crabb & Jay DeMarcus, Trip Lee, Andy Mineo and KB were all high points but I would have to say Tamela Mann stole the show with her emotional performance of  “Take Me To The King!” It was also nice to see Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons”  walk away with so many awards. That song has ministered to and impacted millions around the world in so many more ways than just being a radio hit.

I am happy to see the Dove Awards back in Nashville where they belong. Hats off to the GMA & their Board for making that happen! I look forward to seeing how the new GMA story unfolds.

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Gospel Music Association Moves Dove Awards To Atlanta

Some of you may remember my post from August regarding the Gospel Music Association moving the Dove Awards from Nashville to Atlanta. In case you missed it, I am re-posting below. The Dove Awards take place this evening in Atlanta and as stated in my earlier blog post,  I will not be attending in support of the many Nashvillans who are still struggling to find permanent residences & jobs as a result of the Nashville Flood. While I wish all of the artists who are nominated my best, my heart is in Nashville tonight. I would like to thank MusiCares, Graceworks Ministries, FEMA, CMA Fanfest and the many other churches & ministries around the country for their outpouring support to the victims of the Nashville Flood!

images“We Are Nashville” is the slogan that Nashville residents adopted after the major flood that destroyed much of the city and surrounding areas this past Spring. The national media was scolded for not covering the floods and eventually Anderson Cooper showed up and apologized for the media not giving Nashville the attention it deserved. Meanwhile, as the “help your neighbor” spirit was building within the Nashville community, the Gospel Music Association was apparently fast at work making plans to move the GMA Dove Awards Show to Atlanta. While the Nashville Visitors and Convention Bureau is scrambling to keep tourist coming to town, the Gospel Music Association decides to move the Dove Awards show to Atlanta? Now, that’s the perfect way to show love to the city that has supported your infrastructure for 41 years and is now in desperate need of tourism dollars. Yes, I can see the GMA is trying to be cool like the Country Music Association who took their awards show to New York a few years back but is this year really the year to be cool? The GMA should take notes from the CMA who kept CMA Fanfest in Nashville this year and they donated proceeds to Flood Relief. What the Gospel Music Association is really saying through this move to Atlanta is “We Are Not Nashville”

Seeing the GMA make this decision, makes me feel really embarrassed that I am a GMA member. I think back on all of the benefit shows that Christian artists rushed to put together to help the flood victims and now the industry totally misses the simplest way to help. I don’t plan on being in Atlanta for the Dove Awards Show this year even though Atlanta is my hometown and it would be a very easy trip to make. Instead, I will be donating the money I would pay for my 2011 GMA membership to the MusiCares Nashville Flood Relief Fund.

I don’t normally like to write negative posts but the news of the GMA moving the awards show to Atlanta really struck an emotional chord in my soul. I witness many businesses and friends struggling to rebuild from the flood disaster. There are still thousands of Nashvillians who are jobless due to the flood. This decision to move the awards show will have a negative impact on jobs and local businesses in Nashville and surrounding cities.

http://www.artistgardenentertainment.com

Radio’s Biggest Fear!

Radio

Radio

I had the opportunity to spend last week on the road with one of our artists for a radio promotional tour.  We spent much of our time discussing the testing process many stations use to determine what artists and songs to play in order to keep their listeners happy. Several of the music directors shared some insight with us, which of course caused my music marketing mind to spin.

A Radio Station’s Biggest Fear is losing listeners. Some radio experts believe “Listeners don’t tune out because they hate a particular song…They tune out because they aren’t familiar with a certain song”

There in lies the dilemma for new artist trying to get on the radio.

With those thoughts in mind, an idea was birthed. Wouldn’t it make sense for new artists to record a cover song for their first single to radio? Would that increase their chances for radio stations to add their single? After all, it removes “unfamiliar” from the equation which should result in better testing and happy listeners?

What are your thoughts and ideas on getting new artists on radio?

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The Marketing Plan – Add A Little Orange Juice!

Orange Micro Crush

Orange Micro Crush

As we continue our creative process in the series on Marketing Music and in particular Marketing Christian Music, we are looking to add to our Big Idea from last week. One thing that I find really helps in this process is to do a quick scan of all the relationships the artist has in place with organizations, ministries, product lines etc. We recently secured an Orange Amp endorsement for Circleslide so we decided to explore synergies that we could put in place. Orange was very receptive to the idea and offered to use their 50K+ database to help us market the release. Orange provided us with a Micro Crush amp and some t-shirts to put together a promotion. Our promotion consists of the following.

1) We are hosting a scavenger hunt where we are hiding Circleslide cds wrapped in Orange Amp t-shirts around the country. Location clues will be posted on both the Circleslide and Orange Amp social network sites. The scavenger hunt will launch street week.

2) A contest will launch in mid-October to give-a-way the Micro Crush amp. Entrants will have to listen to the new Circleslide cd to figure out which of the seven songs the Orange amp was used on. Then they will the be required to create a YouTube video of themselves playing air guitar to one of those songs. Circleslide will pick their favorite video and the winner walks away with the Micro Crush amp!

http://www.artistgardenentertainment.com

Get On Up! Back To School!

School starts back this week in Nashville and in other cities around the country over the next couple of weeks. Parents begin the task of getting their kids up early and ready for school. Pressure and stress rise to peak levels as the new schedules make it tougher to get to work. Wouldn’t you like something to get your morning going along with that cup of coffee?

THE ANSWER – Listen to Byron “Mr Talkbox” Chambers new song “Get On Up” Play it for your kids as they are getting ready or on the way to school. Then play it for yourself as you are rushing to work. This is guaranteed to give you a positive start for your day! Leave a comment here on the blog today and win a chance to receive a personal morning wake up call from Byron “Mr Talkbox” Chambers himself!

[wpaudio url=”http://themusicgardener.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/04-get-on-up.mp3″ text=”Get On Up” dl=”0″]

YOU CAN OWN “GET ON UP” FOR ONLY 99 CENTS!  Click Here!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the President of Artist Garden Entertainment, an artist management and marketing company. I only recommend music that I personally believe is exceptional and would be enjoyed by my readers. We do manage Byron “Mr Talkbox” Chambers and are compensated indirectly when someone purchases his music. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Gospel Music Association… “We Are Not Nashville”

images“We Are Nashville” is the slogan that Nashville residents adopted after the major flood that destroyed much of the city and surrounding areas this past Spring. The national media was scolded for not covering the floods and eventually Anderson Cooper showed up and apologized for the media not giving Nashville the attention it deserved. Meanwhile, as the “help your neighbor” spirit was building within the Nashville community, the Gospel Music Association was apparently fast at work making plans to move the GMA Dove Awards Show to Atlanta. While the Nashville Visitors and Convention Bureau is scrambling to keep tourist coming to town, the Gospel Music Association decides to move the Dove Awards show to Atlanta? Now, that’s the perfect way to show love to the city that has supported your infrastructure for 41 years and is now in desperate need of tourism dollars. Yes, I can see the GMA is trying to be cool like the Country Music Association who took their awards show to New York a few years back but is this year really the year to be cool? The GMA should take notes from the CMA who kept CMA Fanfest in Nashville this year and they donated proceeds to Flood Relief. What the Gospel Music Association is really saying through this move to Atlanta is “We Are Not Nashville”

Seeing the GMA make this decision, makes me feel really embarrassed that I am a GMA member. I think back on all of the benefit shows that Christian artists rushed to put together to help the flood victims and now the industry totally misses the simplest way to help. I don’t plan on being in Atlanta for the Dove Awards Show this year even though Atlanta is my hometown and it would be a very easy trip to make. Instead, I will be donating the money I would pay for my 2011 GMA membership to the MusiCares Nashville Flood Relief Fund.

I don’t normally like to write negative posts but the news of the GMA moving the awards show to Atlanta really struck an emotional chord in my soul. I witness many businesses and friends struggling to rebuild from the flood disaster.  There are still thousands of Nashvillians who are jobless due to the flood. This decision to move the awards show will have a negative impact on jobs and local businesses in Nashville and surrounding cities.

http://www.artistgardenentertainment.com

Byron “Mr Talkbox” Chambers Wins Dove Award!

Byron Chambers and Manwell

Byron Chambers and Manwell

As an artist manager, it is a very special time when your artist is honored for excellence with an industry award. This year’s Dove Awards were extra special as our artist, Byron “Mr Talkbox” Chambers, was awarded Hip-Hop/Rap song of the year for his writing and production on Group 1 Crew’s “Movin”! The Dove Award comes at a perfect time as Byron just released his new record “My Time”. Byron “Mr Talkbox” Chambers has been doing a great deal of work for artists behind the scenes over the last 10 years. He has toured as a musician with NSYNC, Britney Spears, Martha Munizzi and Group 1 Crew. I would encourage anyone who reads this blog posts to visit iTunes and pick up his new record “My Time” Byron is making music that is much different than most in the Christian industry. His music is relevant to the music that is happening in the mainstream while holding strong to his positive message. Please trust The Music Gardener on this one. YOU WILL ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS RECORD! Byron is currently on tour with Tobymac. If you are interested in having Byron “Mr Talkbox” Chambers play your event, please contact Artist Garden Entertainment.

http://www.artistgardenentertainment.com

GMA Dove Week

The third week in April, which is normally Christian music’s biggest marketing week of the year, has morphed into Christian music’s biggest day of the year. As this year’s GMA Dove Week (formerly know as GMA Week) was approaching, I felt this sense that I may be missing something that everyone else knows about? The plethora of GMA Week activities from the past were not to be found. As I spoke with publicists, record labels, artist managers and others in the industry, I realized I wasn’t “out of the know”. There simply was very little going. I did have one meeting at the Renaissance Hotel and it was odd to hear silence in a place that would normally pose as the heartbeat of Christian music.

In the midst of the week’s silence, there were three events that I enjoyed attending.

Indie University is a yearly conference that Keith Mohr puts on for independent artists. I had the privilege of serving on the artist development and artist manager panel at the event. This conference is a great thing for independent artist as it gives them an opportunity to learn better ways to navigate the music industry while providing them an incredible networking opportunity. Even though I have been in the music business over twenty years, I still learned some things from the publishing session I attended.

The Objective was an event put on by Scott Macleod for indy artists. This event was designed to encourage indy Christian artist to chase after ministry as opposed to the idea of being a “rock star”. There were mentors on hand for the artist meet with. I was amazed at the attendance and had an opportunity to meet some incredible people.

Seth Holloway’s “Back To Music” showcase at 12th & Porter proved to be a great night of music. Seth has been doing this showcase for years during GMA Week. Thankfully, Seth continues to press on with his showcase as he presents some great music. Highlights of the evening were a band called True Story, and a rock the house performance by Byron “Mr Talkbox” Chambers! Major label A&R and publishing companies were in attendance so I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more of these indy artists find themselves a major label home.

As I reflect on the past, I can’t help but wonder why GMA Week disappeared? Finances obviously played a big role but did the GMA lose focus on it’s purpose?  Did it serve the industry as a whole? Did it address the current needs of the industry?

What suggestions do you have for the GMA?

http://www.artistgardenentertainment.com

The “4 Week New Release Plan”

The Music Gardener was recently involved in what is now being referred to as the “4 week New Release Plan.” The plan was birthed out of a November strategy meeting with Brandon Bee, an artist we manage, and Save The City Records. We were looking for a way to bring some attention to Brandon during the holiday season and build his overall awareness. Knowing the heaviest traffic of the year on iTunes occurs the two weeks during and after Christmas week, we set that time as our target. All who receive iPods or iTunes gift cards for Christmas generally fuel up with music during those two weeks. Brandon had released a full album earlier in 2009 so we needed something new in order to have a shot at positioning in the iTunes stores. Our brainstorming resulted in the idea of recording a 6 song acoustic ep targeting a December 22 street date.

Brandon immediately began writing and recording. Even with the tight deadlines, we were able to get the ep recorded, mixed, mastered and up on iTunes via Tunecore by Dec 22. Fortunately, iTunes was willing to give us positioning in the New & Noteworthy section and at the only time of the year when the majority of the iTunes positioning remains in place for two weeks. Utilizing Twitter, Facebook and Brandon’s email list we began the web 2.0 marketing frenzy. Amazingly, we were able to drive Brandon’s ep as high as #17 on the Christian albums chart during Christmas week which is incredible for a new artist with absolutely no radio play. Traffic on Brandon’s website reached an all-time high which confirmed we had accomplished our goal. Coming from the major label system, I know first hand that this would have been absolutely impossible for a major label to pull off in 4 weeks. As a matter of fact, most major labels shut down for the most of December. It was so refreshing to be working with an artist who acted quickly, a label who turned all elements with speed and accuracy and no cost marketing vehicals that can be unleashed in seconds.

How would you release a record in 4 weeks? We know it’s possible!

http://www.artistgardenentertainment.com