The Homeland label looks to be coming back (David Bruce Murray floats a “magic three” thesis about the need for a third established record company here). My first question about the Homeland resurrection is, yeah but will the new Homeland be any better at paying its bills and royalties than the old one? I put this question to someone who should know, and he responded thusly:

Homeland technically went under one time before they ultimately DID go under. It took some investment on the part of several groups to bail them out that time. In truth, this is [label owner’s Bill] Traylor’s third attempt to establish the label. Along the way, we got to hear some pretty good music, but they seem to make a number of poor business decisions.

When I was in Christian retail, Homeland accompaniment CDs/cassettes never sold as well as Daywind…not because they weren’t as good…but because they carried a substantially higher retail price. In the late 1990s, you had Christian World at $6.99, Daywind at $7.99, and Homeland at $8.98 for cassettes. We did the most business with Christian World, even though their quality level was crap. We did a good business with Daywind, and essentially none with Homeland.

I wonder if Traylor is a better business man now than he was back then.

The greater question is whether or not labels at this level are really worth it anymore. There was a time when technology dictated that artists use the resources of a label. Those days are gone. About the only thing an artist can’t do for themselves now is distribution. I think we will see more groups go the route of the Hoppers (who hired Lari Goss on their own to produce their latest CD), assuming they figure out how to partner with the distribution companies.

This last point is especially important. I’ve talked with several prominent group owners who all say independent of one another that they’re itching to renegotiate their label contracts in ways that allow group owners to retain their own masters and essentially use the label for distribution purposes. And then there’s Wayne Haun and Kevin Ward’s new label, which may represent another possible trend: boutique labels that provide the production and arranging expertise of a big label (between them Haun and Ward have produced and engineered for just about everybody, and Haun’s work in publishing and arranging at Daywind was central to the company establishing itself as The Sg Label) while partnering with established companies (in Haun and Ward’s case, Crossroads) for access to distribution channels.

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  1. Music Man wrote:

    At one point Bill Traylor had moved to California and gone to work for a piano company. Is he now back at Homeland? Evidently there are other people (read new investors) involved and holding the CEO title at the newly resurrectied “Homeland” label. It seems the old reputation of not paying royalites in a timely fashion would be difficult to overcome and would make artists a little reluctant. IT will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

  2. Kyle wrote:

    I always found it interesting that when the Cathedrals retired, Homeland folded (they hung around for a couple more years, but not very long).

    Wasn’t Ben Speer a big part of Homeland, as well? I know that the Cathedrals (or at least George or Glen) were involved at one point, as well.

  3. CVH wrote:

    I remember Bill Traylor when he was plugging 45s for Benson back in the early 80’s. I don’t know if he necessarily has to be associated with Homeland (I’m not up on all the intervening history), but it would be nice if there were some viable niche labels if only primarily for distribution and promotional purposes.

    More and more groups are capable of handling those chores on their own but for those that aren’t quite there yet, some expertise and support (assuming it’s truly there) might help them reach the next level. Sometimes I wonder how many quality groups there are waiting in the wings who are truly ready to take the mainstage and become A level artists. The identity associated with a strong brand might be helpful. (And yeah, pay the royalties!)

  4. Wayne Hester wrote:

    Where can I purchase a video or DVD of the Speer Family 70th anniversary celebration? This was on Homeland.

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