There are thousands of artists (Major and Independent) that are not only involved in the Industry of Gospel Music but also the Ministry of Gospel Music. I, like many of you, have one time or another, intertwined the two as one but they are different yet they can come together depending on the vision of the artist. The word “Industry” refers to the production of an economic good or service. It’s important to understand that the Gospel Music industry can involve ministry but ministry is not the focal point. The focal point is the marketing, distributing and selling of products for money. Without money, an industry would fall and that’s why so many artists and some major labels in the past have fallen because of the lack of financial resources due to various reasons. The Gospel Music Industry is comprised of major Corporations, small labels, mom and pop record stores, (which are vastly dying) promoters, media, marketers, publicists, radio personalities and churches. The industry is primarily ruled and influenced by major labels who have the necessary funding to reach the average Gospel Music buyer with their products and services. The labels products are their artists and the products they create (CD’s, DVD’s etc.) and depending on the success of those products other residuals are created such as royalties, merchandise etc.
The Gospel Music Industry does not have to follow any moral or religious code nor do the artists they promote. They concentrate on making music that people want to hear. When major labels sign artists, they look at the talent and marketability of the artist. If lifestyles were a prerequisite to being signed by a label then there would be no labels because most of the artists that we know and love have lifestyles that wouldn’t measure up. There would be no industry. Just think, if you only bought products from corporations and artists with whom you knew were operating by biblical principles, how easy it would be for you to get what you wanted although it would be interesting to know how many corporate executes, who promote Gospel Music, actually know Jesus as their personal Savior. To the Gospel Music Industries credit, many songs, videos, songbooks and award shows have been beneficial to the everyday lives of Christians around the world. Gospel Music would not be where it is today if it weren’t for the Gospel Music Industry but let’s not spiritualize it, folks. It is what it is. I’m in the industry and if I don’t make money, I can’t continue to make records and travel. Major planning and implementation make major artists. Artists don’t do well just because they’re anointed. There are people in our local churches who are anointed and if they had the right business model behind them they would be selling records too.
The Gospel Music Ministry is different. When one is in the ministry of Gospel Music, their primary focus is the salvation and uplifting of souls. Many artists, major or independent, when they step on stage their goal is to Minister God’s music to the waiting audience or congregation. The ministry is not focused on money, although money is needed to survive, the ministering of music is essential to their mission in life. I would venture to say that most Gospel Artists make an attempt to Minister God’s music every time they are offered an opportunity. However, sometimes personal ambition and arrogance get in the way. The Gospel Music Industry and Ministry can walk together if the artist desires it to be so. When you are sold out for God your integrity means more to you than money. You thrive off of ministry and you let the ministry drive your business and not vice versa. I hear some of you saying now, I would prefer ministry over industry well let me tell you that without an Industry you and I would not be exposed to the ministries of most of our wonderful Gospel Artists.