What a label can do
David Bruce Murray posted this comment in the Canaan thread and it seems worth promoting to the main page, lest the point get overlooked in the mix.
If a group like the Hoppers can create great music on their own, that’s well and good, but the reality is they have no decent distribution plan in place. You either get _The Ride_ from the Hoppers or you don’t get it at all. Maybe they can make just as much profit from direct sales, but are their songs being heard? And if a person in Michigan hears one of their songs by chance and wants to buy a copy, how persistent are they likely to be in chasing down the one website where they can order it?
To the credit of Goss and the Hoppers, they are pursuing some avenues that other groups aren’t. Word Music just released a choral book of songs recorded by the Hoppers with the Hoppers’ name on the front cover to help sell it, arranged and orchestrated by Lari Goss. Several songs from the Ride CD are included.
It seems if Word Music was going to go to all that effort, Word Distribution would have worked out some deal to distribute the independent Ride project as well.
I’m not so sure independent is the best way to go. I think a better solution would be to create music independently, but then use some sort of distribution machine that’s already in place.
As for the Florida Boys, they’ve been needing a guiding hand in the studio for many years. As much as I liked Gene McDonald’s singing and as much as I like Josh Garner’s singing, the group didn’t/hasn’t made a really good recording in terms of production quality since either guy has been with the group. The Homeland stuff had a cheap sound…fake strings on “I’m Forgiven”…and the two Cathedral projects were just about as low budget as you could go. This is not a group that makes particularly good recordings WITH a label’s help, so I’d expect even less if they go it alone.
DBM makes an especially good point about excellent custom recordings never really getting heard because of “custom” distribution. But I would disagree slightly with him and suggest that even for the solid independently produced artists, labels can be good for more than just distribution.
If you want an example of what a new breed of nimble labels are capable of doing for artists who produce good music on their own, look at Janet Paschal’s new hymns project. I’ve just finished listening to it and ll have a review soon but suffice it to say it’s astonishingly good, exemplifying not only that a label brings with it the support of a distribution network for established artists (Paschal’s more recent projects in her post-Spring Hill days have mostly been availabe only on her website) but can also take really talented talent to a new level of accomplishment with the right artistic direction from the record company. Paschal has made excellent records by herself, but in the case of Sounds Like Sunday, she can thank her label for far far more than just distribution help. She got masterful artistic direction (from Wayne Haun, who has produced most of Paschal’s recent work) but also an investment from the label to give the project an artistic reach and stylistic scope (orchestrations, accompaniment, backing vocals, etc) to a degree that a custom recording would likely not have had.Email this Post