Sometimes, I really struggle with this. I understand this does not specifically address every aspect of the industry. However, for the purpose of this blog entry, I will make this a somewhat broad topic to discuss, in an attempt to avoid identify certain artists. However, some will be mentioned when a specific example is necessary.
Is SG Still In The “Old Media” Generation? I know there are a number of new SG blogs popping up every day, and fans and artists are active on Facebook and other social media sites. However, as a whole, I truly believe our genre is lagging behind when it comes to media as a whole.
With the recent discussion on SouthernGospelBlog.com, you may think I am referring to only things like Youtube. However, I am not. I beleve this issue extends into group promotions, publicity, and even just the production quality that artists are putting out there. I truly believe that is a major part of what sets our industry back in comparison with others.
I do think progress has been made. I feel that last night’s AGM Awards was an example of what is available for us to use in our industry. Daniel Mount has done an excellent job promoting the industry as a whole over the years on SouthernGospelBlog. And I know he has inspired other SG lovers (such as YankeeGospelGirl and myself) to begin writing blogs of our own.
There are other examples I’m not including due to time and space, but I do realize progress has been made. However, that does not blind me to all the improvements that could be made in order to make SG music more recognizable.
Personally, I feel like one of the biggest areas SG is lacking in is promotions. I feel like there are many promoters whose main form of advertising a concert is in posters and snail mail. Thats all fine and good, but that will also limit the exposure of the concert, which will then limit ticket sales. In fact, I often wonder if the artists who use social media are doing more promoting of their upcoming concerts than the promoters themselves are. To me, thats an unnecessary burden that should not be on the shoulders of the artists. I believe more promoters should have an improved web presence. These days, it is not that difficult to create a website of your own for little to no cost.
I think production quality as a whole could improve in SG music, as well. If you look at how much production work is put into a Gaither or EHSS concert, it is much greater than some other groups on the road. I understand stuff like that costs a good amount of money, but I don’t think its a coincidence that those tours are also the highest attended in the industry.
Finally, I will touch a little bit on Youtube. I’m not writing this to debate legalities of this issue, or if this is an acceptable thing for we as Christians to do. That is not up to me to be the judge of that. What I do know, is how Youtube can open the door for people to get introduced to this great music. I am a perfect example of this. I knew about SG music during my growing-up years, but I never got attached to the music until I found hoover4000‘s collection of Youtube videos. I’d probably say at least 75% of my DVD collection was purchased because I saw one of her clips online. That is what inspired me to do the same. I wanted to introduce others to the music of the industry the same way that I got hooked on the music.
As is, the southern gospel industry does not have enough of a presence among the new media generation in order to make a difference. I think that in some areas, we are definitely improving as a whole. However, I believe there are some definite flaws which need to be addressed in order for southern gospel music to live on through the numerous generations to come.
We are in a “new media” generation. But I’d say that at least two-thirds of the SG industry is still stuck in the “old media” world. If SG is dying (like some have said before), that is one of the first reasons I’ll point to if anyone asks me.