Several months back, I seem to recall a minister of music over at sogospelnews say that he compiled discs of his favorite songs to play as ambient music while folks were filing into the sanctuary. Never one to think of anything too quickly, I wondered on my way to lunch today whether or not groups or labels or distributors or promoters have thought or already make a habit of compiling and sending discs of sg to churches for just this kind of use? And if no one is making a habit of it already, why not? It seems to me the infrastructure is already there at the labels in the form of promotion departments that compile comp discs for radio. Why couldn’t a marketing or promotions person sit down and identify different stylistic clusters of music from the label’s artists (anthemic, ballads, upbeat, traditional, contemporary, jazzy, churchy, etc) and then send those themed discs to churches large and sophisticated enough to have developed praise & worship operations that they might make use of the music in the way the sogo poster does? I’m thinking of the last big Baptist church I regularly attended … in the foyer (what high church types and Reformed congregations usually call the narthex), there was an information station (complete with flat panel billboard, last time I was there), where among other things, tapes of recent sermons were available. It was a perfect place for a “now playing before services” sign to go (a sign, which of course could be packaged with cd). Such a display could list what was playing on that cd and information about the projects from which the music was culled (if the labels were really smart, they’d make sure a local retailer had the projects whose songs were played on the disc and then point people to that retailer and/or their website from the foyer display). The only downsides I can think of are that 1)no one uses the thing except for private use; 2)the discs could get burned illicitly and end up in the circulation on the internet or among wink-and-nod music traders. But in either case, those are risks already being taken with radio promotion. On the whole, it seems like one way to try to get a foothold in the large (sub)urban churches that I’ve harped on and on about before. A captive audience with an interest in gospel music and, statistically, possessed of disposable income at least theoretically available for Christian merchandising … is this already happening? If so, anybody heard about the results? If not, anybody see prohibitive obstacles to the proposal?

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