The long slow death of southern gospel entertainment

At least that’s one way to interpret the recent rebranding of Homeland Entertainment Group to “Homeland Inspiration Group.” Thus HIG-not-HEG CEO Bob Jones:

After much thought and prayer, we feel like with a constant [sic] changing society, our focus should maneuver more away from the term entertainment and convey more of a ministry concentration through our label group as well as the product that we produce.

And so doth “entertainment” become an even dirtier word. A reader summed it up this way after reading the press release:

Entertainment continues to be vilified as evidenced by the name change over at Homeland.

I remember talking business philosophy with [one-time Homeland head honcho] William Traylor while contemplating a recording contract there once upon a time, and was reassured by his reminder that the company name “is Homeland Entertainment.”

I suppose the change will go mostly unnoticed (save for a few muffled Amen’s) as just the next match on the fire.  I see it as yet another nail in the coffin of what could be instead of what is.

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  1. CVH wrote:

    Entertainment…ministry…two sides of the same coin. Most of the people I’ve known in the last 40 years in the business consider themselves entertainers first. And if you’re a good entertainer people will applaud and/or cry, buy the 3 for $20 special at the record table and maybe take a little Jesus home with them.

    I don’t think it has to be either/or. And there’s nothing wrong with being an excellent entertainer. In fact, many of the discussions here revolve around the fact that a lot of the groups out there today are NOT good entertainers.

    A branding change like Homeland’s either reflects a change in their philosophy or product (which is doubtful) or it’s aspirational - trying to project the image they think consumers want. Ministry is a by-product of the entertainment. You have to focus on the entertainment for the ‘ministry’ to occur.

  2. Magnolia wrote:

    I think it’s all based upon pragmatic materialism. Is he trying to turn it into a “ministry” so that he can declare a non-profit status?

  3. Soli Deo Gloria wrote:

    Given Homeland’s roster of artists, I personally commend them for ceasing their fraudulent use of the word “entertainment.”

  4. NG wrote:

    If the company wants to be a ministry, why not use that word rather than something far less specific like inspiration?

    Inspiration is a motivating action or influence that results in creative works and productivity of all kinds. One can, for example, be inspired by nature or the works or other. Does Homeland think inspiration is a better marketing tool than ministry?

  5. CVH wrote:

    Soli…that’s awesome.

  6. Gradie wrote:

    To me, one of the main things that Homeland Entertainment Group had going for them was their name. It was one of the few record companies that has(had) a recognizable name with any type of history. Even though many of the people and groups that helped make Homeland a household name in SG are no longer there, it still had a moniker that many had heard of.

  7. Casual Observer wrote:

    It’s all just semantics - and the pendulum ever swings. GMC (The Gospel Music Channel) just changed their name to Family Friendly Entertainment. Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville is now The Fellowship at Two Rivers. Some committee calculates that a name change will broaden the appeal of said entity but it’s almost always more about style than substance.

  8. BigJohn wrote:

    I agree with the multiple posters thought we need to acknowledge that without entertainment there will be no ministry. Church’s and concerts work only if there are butts in the seats and no one wants to hear a subpar group stand there and sing marginally. Furthermore, it is painful to go to some groups concerts to hear a paid for by some right wing Republican groups speech between songs. But hey I am just a younger listener who would rather get my political news from John Stewart than from someone who is stumping under the guise of a christian artist.

  9. irishlad wrote: shucks,and i thought you were big bad john or even big john hall :/

  10. irishlad wrote:

    I’m sure adkinsda won’t mind me plugging his youtube account as he just posted a clip of JD performing “old man death” from, i would say the late 70’s very early 80’s, and while we’re on the subject,it’s a nice example of we’re the lines are blurred as far as the entertainment/ministry is concerned.

  11. irishlad wrote:

    10 I meant to say: as far as the entertainment/ministry issue is concerned.

  12. Tommy wrote:

    I heard the Songfellows recently. I bought their new cd out of nostalgia because of Ed Hill. I assumed since Bob Jones, owner of the Song Fellows, also owns Homeland now that it would be a good example of what they are putting out now. It was a very low budget recording. The producing was horrible and the mix was bad. I expected much better. Is there another name they can go with because it was neither entertaining or a ministry to me.

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