How Gaitherization works (II of II)

People who would otherwise be no-names to sg crowds (Jessie Dixon, say) or would have long ago dropped mostly out of sight (Ann Downing or Candy Hemphill, for instance) now have Gaither cachet because they’re Homecoming regulars, even though they may only sing one song on every third Homecoming video. No matter, regular Gaither appearances can give a person or a group instant recognition and status on the stupefyingly anemic basis of being seen moving your lips on a few videos and every now and then performing some old standard or whatever new song of Susanna, Gloria, or Bill Gaither’s that Gaither decides the world just must hear right now. Nevermind that these people are no better (or worse, I suppose) performers now than they were before Gaither. That doesn’t matter, because when promoters for the Cornpone County Pea Pickers Festival look to book an sg act, they don’t see - in a Gaitherized world - a range of variously talented and skilled performers, starting at the top with someone like Ivan Parker or Janet Pascal and going on down the list to Ann Downing or Candy Hemphill. What the Cornpone County Pea Pickers see is a buffet of Big Names from Homecoming with different prices tags. And the price tag for Ann Downing is a lot lower than Ivan Parker’s. So at this point, a mercenary financial logic picks up where discriminating musical tastes leave off: Cornpone Pea Pickers can take advantage of the artificial status-inflation Gaither has introduced into the pool of sg talent, and the Pea Pickers pick Candy or Ann because they can get them for pennies on the dollar that they’d to pay for Ivan or Janet. The Cornpone Pea Pickers may not have ever been likely to book Parker or Pascal (before or after Gaither), but they probably would have been more likely in an unGaitherized environment to give an up-and-coming quartet or some recently formed trio or a struggling soloist a chance. Not necessarily so now, post-Gaither. Like I said a while back. “Gaither’s videos … have made the Stars and Legends business more competitive in sg.” But not, as should be apparent, always for the better.

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