A few days ago, I read a wonderful article from singer/songwriter Daryl Williams, whose perspective is one that has been a complaint of many Southern Gospel fans for years, and one that will continue to grow in the age we live in. Why is it difficult for people to music when its released?
Here’s a scenario for you, one I’ve dealt with often, that is not unusual. You see a release date for the new project from your favorite artist advertised in the Singing News or mentioned on a blog. You go to your local Christian bookstore, and you don’t see it in the ever shrinking Southern Gospel music section. You ask the clerk if they can order it, and they tell you its not listed in their catalog, and they question your sanity. Then you try the online route to download the music. You go to iTunes, search the artist, yet the albums not listed. You hop on the artists website, and its not available in their online store for purchase yet. You may go to the website of the artists record company, and there’s no mention of the albums release because the website is not up to date. How does it make you feel?
Of the SG labels that I know of, Crossroads is the only one who comes to mind that you can download the music from directly, and in some cases before the release date. With iTunes & other digital media outlets, we face another issue. For those of us who love to read the album credits, find out the song information (lyrics, writer, musicians), we get nothing. One feature that Williams mentions in his article is the iTunes LP feature, which offers a download of the artwork, lyrics, and other features. And many other albums on iTunes, that are not part of the LP releases, also come with the artwork & liner notes. Crossroads at one time included the artwork with their downloads, but I have not seen them recently.
I personally think SG artists & companies need to spend their energy making sure they are interacting with their fans, and their music is available digitally. Now we know that illegal sharing is an still an issue, and it does hurt the artists when people are sharing music with people outside their household. But, I believe many artists are losing out by not making their music available for digital purchase. In areas that artists may not tour, they are making their music available for their fans, who may have to wait a long period of time before seeing their favorite artist again.
I’m curious to hear your take. What’s your opinion? How long have your waited to get your favorite artists new cd? What steps do you think SG artists & record companies could take to improve their services, and get their music to fans faster?