Cece Winans

CeCe Winans was among the first major artist to announce a label venture.

By E.J. Gaines

The current economic state of the gospel music industry has had some people a bit concerned. The ambitions of a once commercially promising marketplace have been overshadowed by dreams that now seem a bit harder to reach. Budgets have been cut, staffs have been downsized, and recording contracts have not been renewed. On nearly every hand, artists, musicians, labels, industry professionals and consumers are wondering what will come next for our beloved industry, and the genre of music that it supports.

At the outset, it is important to note that most of the difficulties facing the gospel music today are not actually unique to the Gospel genre. The entire music business is being forced to change the way it does business. As such, a new set of expectations must be managed. The dawn of the digital era and changes in consumer behavior are just a couple of factors among a full cast of characters that are significantly impacting the ongoing music business drama.

In light of the changing Gospel music marketplace, perhaps doom and gloom are not the final forecast. Vestiges of hope on the horizon include the possibility of strategic and needed realignment. Gospel music was always purposed to carry God\’s message to the masses; somehow, this mandate may have been muddied by multiplatinum sales and million dollar deals. Maybe the aftermath of Gospel\’s economic storm will yield a bevy of smaller, more Kingdom focused companies some may even be ministries.

Before we can fully understand the significance of where we are and, potentially where we are headed, we must understand our past, from a business standpoint. — Read full story in May/June 2010 issue of Gospel Today!