“If we place TER between IN and DEPENDENT we get the word IN-TER-DEPENDENT. One of its definitions is: ‘two very different concerns giving mutual benefit, without causing loss or damage to the other’. This is how we will rise individually and collectively as an industry.”
THE POWER IS WITH THE INDEPENDENTS
Juliet Fletcher gives insight into the great opportunities that are available to Britain’s independent gospel labels, and the imminent plans to launch an online UK gospel listing
2013 is set to be a great year for UK Gospel. It has now obtained representation through the GMIA – Gospel Music Industry Alliance – and it’s working; there’s gonna be an official ‘Christian & Gospel Chart’, which will bring our music centre stage with mainstream recognition. Identifiable levels of infrastructure are being put into place, enabling more productivity. The whole scene is in a state of transformation.
Many of the advances are due to the effort that independent companies, artists and others are making to reshape the prospects of our sector.
Know What & Know How!
UK Gospel is part of the UK independent music sector, and our artists and songwriters are at the cutting edge of this. We are counted as independent, because our artists are not signed directly to any of the major labels, like Sony or Universal. This should not be viewed as a problem because, as a community of independents, we are better set to thrive and rise in the current state of the global music marketplace!
Who will rise to the top and achieve their dreams or artistic callings? I say it’s anyone who knows ‘what’ and knows ‘how’, that is to acquire and apply knowledge. For example, if you, whether as a choir, group, soloist or church organisation, have released an EP, CD or DVD album, essentially you are functioning as a record label.
GMIA Executive, Linton Beckles, described the independent music makers like this: “If you are capable of making a recording, and are marketing and distributing that recording, you are already functioning as a record label. Therefore, by understanding this process, you can explore and take advantage of some of the privileges and rights that you can have as a record label.”
Linton added that, as an independent, you can assign your own work – even the work of other artists – to your label, and you can also sub-license your recordings with major labels and distributors. Record labels also collect royalties from collection bodies, such as PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) and VPL (Video Performance Limited). In essence, that could be a royalty claim for you as the artist and for you as the record label owner.
I have spoken to artists who did not know that they were operating as a label owner, and were not aware of how their independent status gives them many more options in the control of their creative works and of increasing income potential.
The GMIA is currently compiling an online listing of all UK Gospel artist-label owners and record companies to create a collective voice so that, together, their interests can be represented. You can sign up to the listing or go to www.gmia.org.uk.
TER makes all the difference
Now let me add this critical fact: PR, marketing and promotion companies, agents and others are all independent facilitators. As we go forward into 2013, which will see the establishment of a Christian music and gospel chart, these facilitators will be crucial to your success – particularly if you intend to make the kind of progress that you believe your artistry is appointed or anointed to achieve. You may wonder how mainstream record companies achieve the success they achieve with their artists. It’s because they often use independent professional PR and marketing, radio pluggers, online marketers… the list goes on. In other words, they don’t achieve success by themselves.
I recently met with multi award-winning GuvnaB, who I believe is on his way to even greater success. In addition to his obvious charm and talent, I had to acknowledge his savvy in drawing to himself quality, independent facilitators. I could see he knows how to value people who input their speciality into his life. He asks questions and he listens. He understands what I call T – E – R. This means Togetherness Enhances Results. If we place TER between IN and DEPENDENT we get the word IN-TER-DEPENDENT. One of its definitions is: ‘two very different concerns giving mutual benefit, without causing loss or damage to the other’. This is how we will rise individually and collectively as an industry.
Marlene Cato, who manages her sister – supreme vocalist, Lurine Cato – told me, “I’ve found that we can do so much on our own, but when we have connected or worked in partnership with others, we often exceed our own expectations. Pushing and pulling together is also a lot more rewarding.”
My conclusion is that the real power of INDEPENDENTS is IN-TER-DEPENDENCE. It may take you time to build relationships with others. No-one wants to feel used – even if you’re paying for the service. But if you are doing your interdependence strategy in the right way, you should find yourself achieving, while building a good reputation.
I’m thankful to God that my eyes are open to see my progress in the light of others whom He has placed around me. Our interdependence will always reflect our independent success.
Juliet Fletcher runs Greentree, a gospel music development company. Phone 07535 964442 or email firstname.lastname@example.org