A few commenters have wondered what I meant by this aside in my discussion of
The longer answer: Yes, DW has figured out how to generate Grammy nominations, and yes, they’ve sewn up a lot of big names in the industry. But you’d be hardpressed to show how the label itself has done anything to add value artistically to those groups that wouldn’t have been or wasn’t a result of the group’s own doing anyway. In fact, you might say the groups are adding value to DW.
As table sales have become the main source of product movement for most groups (which isn’t to say retail doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t matter that much to the artists themselves because their contract with the label ensures that all but rare few artists actually recoup the label’s investment in the project, at least on paper), the trend in gospel music is for groups to either take on their own producing and arranging or contract a la carte with people who will pretty much make them sound the way they want to. This is not true only at Daywind, but the phenomenon has intensified there especially since DW decided not to replace Wayne Haun as house producer when he left several years ago. (Karen Peck and New River is a good example of a group that has “risen” to “success” at Daywind on this model … this “success” hasn’t necessarily meant more market share for the group, just an institutional infrastructure dedicated to surrounding them with the optics of a successful career: awards, slick product roll outs, and of course this year’s Grammy nomination.)
For established groups like Greater Vision or Legacy Five or the Booth Brothers, MIA A&R really isn’t that big of a deal. These kinds of groups either have enough talent within the group to hold together a coherent style and sound, or are popular enough that the mediocre product they produce doesn’t impede sales/survival, or both. Essentially, these groups are doing table projects all the time, it’s just that every other one has a DW executive producer credit on it.
But for a new, young group like
And one assumes a group like AB does want more than that. So if you’re that group with the potential to break out, cross over, or otherwise go anywhere meaningful, a label with an imaginatively moribund A&R department is probably not only not where you want to be (even though it may put you in good company and make you feel really spayshul). Indeed, it may well be a deadend for groups looking for, wanting, or needing more from their label than the easy encouragement of joyful noise-ism.Email this Post