Assignment 3: Evaluation Of Independents

1211 words - 5 pages

The music recording industry, along with its subsidiaries, is controlled by three major corporate recording labels, they are: Sony Music Entertainment (Japanese-owned), Universal Music Group (French-owned), and Warner Music Group (American-owned). All other labels outside of these three are considered to be independent labels.

One of these independent record labels was begun by a man named Billy Ray Hearn. Hearn graduated from Baylor University in 1954, with a degree in Church Music. Following his graduation, Hearn found work in a number of different churches as a minister of music. Then in 1966 Hearn accepted a position with Word Records in Waco, Texas. He realized that he had the ...view middle of the document...

Even though the compositions were based upon Christian themes the styles ranged from Praise and Worship, adult contemporary to soft rock, country, and pop contemporary music.

As a Christian record label, Sparrow Records has led the way for contemporary Christian music artists to find their voice and audience and some of them include: Amy Grant, Bellarive, Britt Nicole, Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels, City Harbor, Colton Dixon, David Crowder Band, Hillsong, Josh Wilson, Kari Jobe, Kristian Stanfill, Louie Giglio, Luminate, Mandisa, Matt Hammitt, Matt Redman, Matthew West, the Newsboys, Passion, Peter Furler, Samestate, Sanctus Real, and Shawn McDonald.

Sparrow is also the independent label that is behind the Worship Together series, the WOW Series, the Passion Movement music series, and the Here I am to Worship series. Today, Sparrow Records has a presence on the Internet with Sparrow Records, Sparrow on YouTube, and Sparrow on Facebook.

In 1989, Jacksonville, Illinois became the new location for the record label’s warehouse, and then in 1991 Sparrow’s national offices were relocated to Nashville, Tennessee. Recognition and promotion for the label’s artists’ was in need of greater exposure and this required additional financial resources. Shortly after these strategic moves Billy Ray Hearn was approached by EMI Music, the third largest music company in the world at the time. They wanted to purchase Sparrow, and Hearn decided this was the best way to carry Sparrow’s artists to the next level. Sparrow joined the EMI family and Billy Ray Hearn stepped down as the CEO. The fan base, by this time, was primarily targeting young people and family audiences. Artists’ like Steven Curtis Chapman, and BeBe and CeCe Winans, were prominent in the Christian music industry.

Some of the primary functions of a major label consist of A & R (Artists and Repertoire), Business Affairs, and Legal, Art, Publicity, Media and Marketing, Artist Development, Sales, Label Liaison, and Promotion departments. These are what make major labels so successful:

There is a lot of work involved with signing, recording, promoting, publicizing, and selling music. The following introduction to the way major labels and independent labels setup the business of music marketing is broken down by departments. As you will see, the larger record labels have the luxury of having many different departments and dozens of employees to carry out the many responsibilities involved in running a label. And, the smaller companies, that have the same work to do, have to be quite creative and energetic to get all that work done. (Knab)

Some of the disadvantages that face an independent recording label are the very advantages enjoyed by the major labels. These disadvantages include a lack of international distribution networks...

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