Bono Wants Honest Christian Music

Honest Christian Music For Bono

Bono wants honest Christian music, according to an interview published by The Huffington Post this week. U2’s frontman stated in the Huffington Post interview that he finds “a lot of dishonesty” in modern Christian art. The article quoted Bono as saying  “Why I am suspicious of Christians is because of this lack of realism,” he continued. “And I’d love to see more of that — in art and in life and in music.”

Well, as you can imagine, Bono’s statements lit up the social networks with thoughts and reactions from the Christian music community. While some agreed with Bono, most think Bono is only hearing the music supported by Christian radio. There has been an ongoing conversation about Christian radio’s unwillingness to support great honest songs for quite a while. Honest music is absolutely being made, but Christian radio refuses to support it and instead chooses music that is safe, watered down and familiar. Some would even argue that Christian radio has become the A&R team for the Christian record labels as most labels won’t sign or release music that doesn’t fit in the safe box that Christian radio has created.

Christian radio has grown quite dependent on “radio testing” in order to decide whether or not to add new music. Unfortunately, the “radio testing” is viewed by many as a flawed process and is designed to favor familiarity. Of course listeners are going to rate familiar music higher than unfamiliar music while participating in the testing process. Those results scare Christian radio programmers into shying away from adding some of the more honest music. That doesn’t mean honest Christian music isn’t being made, it’s just not being exposed to the masses.

In an effort to expose Bono to some great honest Christian music, I created a Spotify playlist specifically for him. Bono – here is some honest Christian music for you to check out  “Honest Christian Music For Bono.”  I think you will see there is much more depth and honesty than is normally heard on radio.

I invite all to follow the playlist and send your suggestions of music we should add to  info@artistgardenentertainment.com

 

 

Seth Godin’s Favorite New Album

Seth Godin’s favorite new album is remarkable. An album that stands out amongst the plethora of new music being offered. Something with an independent spirit that raises the bar for future music offerings. Songs written with intelligent lyrics causing one to think and ponder. Unforgettable melodies that linger long after a single listen. An album that allowed the producer freedom to create outside the rules of the normal radio establishment. Seth Godin’s Favorite New Album is impossible to ignore. Its an epic experience that begs for a complete listen. His favorite new album is significant.

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The Gray Havens have recorded a new album, Ghost Of A King. The new album holds many of the traits Seth’s new favorite album would most likely hold. The Gray Havens have been intentional about making music that stands out among the rest. Scribing lyrics that attract those who enjoy reading and weaving them into infectious melodies that can’t be forgotten. The husband/wife duo have created something quite remarkable with their new album Ghost Of A King. The Gray Havens’ devoted tribe of music loving book readers will not be disappointed with this new collection of songs.

When significant albums comes down the pike, readers of this blog generally want to be in the know. You will want to experience The Gray Havens Ghost Of A King .

Introducing The Album Trailer

New Music Marketing Ideas

Could an album trailer have similar impact on a music release as a movie trailer has on films? That is a marketing question I have been pondering over the last year.

I joined a meet-up group consisting of those who spend their time making films. The group includes, writers, directors, marketers, and actors. My desire is to glean marketing wisdom from the group in addition to finding film homes for some of the music we represent. While the music industry struggles with bringing the masses of the past and excitement to release week for new records, the film industry continues to deliver big box office numbers for release week of films. As I began to study the film industry, I noticed one thing that has remained constant since I can remember. The movie trailer is the key marketing tool for every single film. Where they place the trailers in the marketplace may vary, but they always use a trailer. The movie trailer builds excitement and anticipation for whats to come. Often times the trailer proves to be better than the movie. How many times have you seen a movie trailer and instantly made the decision to make plans see the movie during release week?

While working on marketing plans this year, I decided to try creating song and album trailers as a test. We hear from analytic experts how video content is king and people are more apt to click on a video than anything else marketers present so it seems like an obvious avenue to test. Of course, we don’t have the big film budgets, but video technology has advanced so rapidly that one can edit video fairly easily and cheap. The response to the the trailers has been quite nice compared to other ads we post. Its a bit early to determine how much of an impact the song and album trailers will have on street week, but they are definitely creating a buzz.

Below is a trailer we created for The Gray Havens upcoming April 8 release “Ghost of A King.” We decided to keep the trailer at 30 seconds to coincide with the public’s short attention span. Its a simple quick way to tease the viewer while leaving them the desire for more.

After you view it, leave your comments and how it stirred your interest for the release?

The Tail That Wags The Dove – Part 1

The Sound of Christian Radio

Something I often hear in Christian circles, is a common distaste for the overall sound of Christian radio. Many in the industry listen to Christian radio in short stints as a necessity for work but their personal preference is found in mainstream music. The complaints I hear are generated from college/young adult Christians, artists, producers, songwriters, record label employees and even some who work in radio. Reasons heard from those complaining include 1) the music sounds the same as what was being played ten years ago 2) every song sounds similar 3) radio plays the same handful of artists on repeat 4) the production isn’t relevant to what is being made in the mainstream. While some of those reasons may ring true, who is serving up solutions? Who feeds the music to radio?

I would argue that the radio playlists lie in the hands of the creators. If the artists, songwriters, producers and record company A&R teams refuse to feed radio the same formulaic music, wouldn’t radio be forced to change? When something new begins to work, what if creators resisted the urge to jump on the copycat bandwagon and instead chose to lead with even newer sounds? What if record companies refused to put so much stock into what radio research is asking for and instead fed radio with nothing but innovative music?   Imagine radio playlists chocked full of innovative artists like Switchfoot, For King & Country, Lecrae, Future of Forestry, John Mark McMillan, Social Club and The Brilliance. Radio might just sound a bit different.

Join the conversation, share your thoughts and stay tuned for Part 2 as we explore even more.

 

 

 

The Gray Havens 2015 Album Favorites

CCM Magazine, JesusFreakHideout, NewReleaseTuesday

The Gray Havens End 2015 On High Note

CCM Magazine, JesusFreakHideout and NewReleaseToday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. January 4, 2016 —Artist Garden Entertainment artist, The Gray Havens, end 2015 on a high note with top rankings on multiple industry Top 2015 album lists. The independent, Chicago-based husband/wife duo found their way into the hearts of top Christian media with Fire & Stone, produced by GRAMMY®  Award-winning Mitch Dane (Brandon Heath, JJ Heller)  

CCM Magazine’s Andy Argyrakis ranked The Gray Havens Fire & Stone #6 on his Top 10 Albums list for 2015 stating “this full-length debut is an enthralling and enlightening start to what’s sure to be a fruitful career.”

Fire and Stone ranked #6 on JesusFreakHideout’s Overall Staff Picks for 2015 making The Gray Havens the first independent artist to ever appear on the chart. In addition, the duo ranked #1 on several individual staff picks charts.

Christian music discovery site UnderTheRadar ranked the record #4 on their 2015 Top Gourmet Album Picks.

The husband/wife duo released a new song, At Last, The King, in December which became NewReleaseTuesday’s top downloaded Christmas song of 2015.

The Gray Havens enter the studio this week with producer Ben Shive ( Colony House, Andrew Peterson) to begin recording their next record currently scheduled for a spring release.

YouTube Releases Music App

The music streaming race gets a little more interesting with the today’s announcement from Youtube. Youtube announced the release of their music app for IOS and Android. I’m just downloading the app so no opinion from me yet on its functionality, however, I’m sure it will quickly move to the top of every music marketing plan. Upon hearing the news, I found this amazingly produced video that Youtube made to introduce the service. Interestingly I was the 50th person to view it so I wanted to share with those of you who haven’t seen it. After watching this video, I’m stoked. How about You?

Is Your Comfort Zone Preventing Growth?

Working as an artist manager, I’ve discovered something that holds true for most artists. If an artist is comfortable, they most likely aren’t growing. In order to continue growing an audience, the artist must continually push the boundaries of their music, imaging and marketing. The irony is that most artists don’t like to be uncomfortable but they all want to grow their audience.

Are you comfortable?

 

 

The Gray Havens Launch Kickstarter Campaign

If you aren’t aware of The Gray Havens, then you should be! The husband/wife pop-folk duo have been quietly building a following amongst college students, hipsters and those who appreciate great music. With lyrics inspired by literary greats JRR Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, The Gray Havens are branding a unique style of fantasy story telling with theological undercurrents.

David and Licia Radford, The Gray Havens, recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new EP which they hope to release in Spring 2016. They have been vigorously writing new songs and have lined up producer Ben Shive (Andrew Peterson, Colony House, Brandon Heath) to begin production once the funds are raised. Check out the video and  join them in making the new record.

CLICK THE K IN TOP LEFT CORNER OF VIDEO

 

 

Nic Gonzales Releases First Solo EP

Frontman for one of Christian music’s all-time best live bands, Salvador, releases his first solo EP “My Life Is Yours” today through Lucid Artist. In typical Nic Gonzales fashion, you won’t see him attempting to grab headlines. Instead, he is quietly releasing his new collection of beautifully written songs with minimal self-promoted fanfare. Well sports fans, THE SECRET IS OUT!

This EP reminds me of the pure but powerful vocal presence that led Salvador to the top of Christian radio charts. Nic plays most of the instruments himself but is accompanied by Salvador producer/keyboardist, Chris Bevins. His brother, Art Gonzales, makes a guest drumming appearance and of course you will hear some BGVs from wife, Jaci Velasquez. Listeners will be drawn in by the vulnerability Nic expresses through his lyrics on the EP. “Good As Gold” is my favorite track as he sings about the joy of being a husband and father.

Do yourself a favor…GO BUY THIS RECORD!  CLICK HERE

 

 

Artist Garden Entertainment

Creating Monsters

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I have been working on a book for the last couple of years titled Creating Monsters – Finding Fame In Jesus’ Name. The book is targeted at anyone pursuing a career on a platform that could potentially bring fame.(music, film, sports etc) The book released this week and is available at amazon.com, christianbookstore.com, select Christian retail and on my website keithstancil.com I’d be honored if you would check it out.