Arrested development (I of II)

Experienced reader JG writes describing a horrendous episode from his quartet days, a tale that, with a few variations, I’ve heard more than a few times from others before (names have been changed):

I formed and managed a part-time SG group for ten and a half years. During that time we worked with many of the most well-known SG groups. We won the talent showcase at NQC and soon thereafter signed with [Widget] Records out of Nashville. [Widget] was run by [Dan Newname]*, who now holds a prominent position with [a major sg record label]. [Newname] knew he was going under yet failed to inform his artists. He continued taking orders for products through the label knowing full well he would not be able to produce said product. However, that certainly did not stop him from cashing the checks. We took a loss of $1,500. Other artists were out as well, some more than us. Studio players were out thousands of dollars for projects they had given their talents to with the agreement they would be paid “next week.” He later hires on with [that major sg record label] and everyone moves on as if it never happened. … I am amazed at the seediness with which some operate within a “Christian” industry.

Twenty or so years ago, something very similar happened to some people I know. They had a hot little quartet with a kicking band and a smart arranger. They took the NQC talent contest by storm and landed what seemed to them like a sweet recording deal. Everything unraveled pretty quickly after that. The recording project only managed to make a minor phenom out of one of their members, who promptly traded up to an established fulltime operation and left the rest of the group with a fractured quartet, substantial debt, and a lot of hurt feelings, from which the group never recovered and ultimately disbanded (but only after resentfully working a series of dates to “raise the debt,” as the old timers say).

*In a previous version of this post that was up for a few brief minutes earlier today, I used a new name for the music executive in JG’s letter that may have implied a real person with almost the same name was being described. My apologies for the unintended mix-up, and please let me know if you know of anyone named Newname.

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