On CDs and Royalties

Let me just admit it forthrightly: I am fascinated by the inner workings of the Southern Gospel “industry.” With that in mind, let me point out a recent post on David Bruce Murray’s Musicscribe blog. [EDIT, 6/7/12: Broken link removed.] He discusses how artists and record companies recoup their costs for producing a record.

But perhaps the most interesting part of the post is when his train of thought wanders from the original topic. Towards the end of the post, he says:

Groups that should be singing to crowds averaging 5,000 per night, 50 nights per year, with a $30 ticket price are instead singing to crowds of 1000 or less per night, 200 nights or more per year, with a $12 ticket in a concert hall or for a small flat plus a love offering at a church.

By the way, this is NOT the fault of tight fisted existing fans who often get the blame.

He proceeds to blame the unprofessionalism of Southern Gospel radio stations and concert promoters, and the lack of imagination on the part of those who market (most) Southern Gospel groups.

While acknowledging that he has a point, let me observe one other thing. Concerning Southern Gospel fans being unwilling to pay a $30 ticket price: When was the last time we were asked? Could it be that “ye have not because ye ask not”?

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9 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. I could not afford a $30.00 ticket to hear a group sing. As a widow, with a foster grandson that I help to support, I have to use my money wisely. It just does not go very far if you buy a ticket for $30.00.

  2. You have a good point.

    For me, what a $30 ticket price (instead of $15) would mean is that I just go to half as many concerts as I otherwise could.

  3. I don’t know of many artists who can pull in a decent crowd on a $15.00 ticket.

    I agree with David that Radio is partly at fault – however, I also blame the fans for being tight wads as well.

  4. In my area, all the tickets, no matter the venue, are priced at $15, or $12 in advance. I don’t know if I have encountered a $10 ticket yet, unless it’s for children. Perhaps it is because I’m out of the way, in northern Ohio, and groups have to come farther and thus charge more.

  5. I guess I could/would be considered a tight wad SG concert goer, but when you are young and only have so much money and your parents only have so much money, I cannot afford a $30 dollar ticket for every concert I go to, especially if it was only for ONE group.
    The highest I have ever paid for a concert ticket is $50 and that was the George Younce & Friends Benefit Concert held in Akron in 2004. And I only paid that much because I wanted to go to the meet and greet they had before the concert. I never regret spending that much, because it was the 2nd to last concert he sang at.
    As for me, I am glad when tickets are in a $10-$20 price range. Why? Well, for one thing a cheaper concert ticket makes me able to purchase product from the group and support them in that way, plus I get a benefit. If I have to pay $30.00 for every concert I go to the groups would not be making very much from me with their product sales, because I had already spent my extra money on the higher priced ticket.

    Another thing…if groups only do 50 concerts per year…most likely 99% of them would not be in my area (and most of them aren’t now anyways) I would be limited in concert attendance that way, because it takes money to travel to concerts that are hours away.

    Are groups making less because they do 200 plus concert dates with cheaper ticket prices a year than they would if it was 50 concert dates a year with more expensive ticket prices?

    Just my thoughts from a young person~

  6. Daniel,
    I understand that as well, and I am very grateful to groups (and their families) for sacrificing so much so they can travel and sing.
    Sometimes I wonder if “fans” are too demanding of their favorite group, as in, “bugging” them about new CDs, DVDs, and other misc. products. Because these products take Time, Energy, and Money.
    I am just glad they bring out what products they can and for doing the hundreds of concerts.
    Just my 2 cents! 🙂

  7. Roanna and MissGizmo, I’m with you. I like the lower ticket prices and the more frequent concerts. But I also realize that the stress of being on the road that much and away from family 2/3 of the year wears out some of my favorite performers much faster than it would be if they worked a slower schedule.

  8. Yes, fans can be demanding. But, on the other hand, most performers know what they’re getting into, and while they might not be able to record as much as the fans ask, they appreciate that someone likes their music enough to ask if they have a new project coming out soon.

    Of course, I’m not excusing anyone (fans or artists) who takes things to extremes.

  9. MissGizmo and Roanna,
    Regarding the $30 ticket…I want to point out that regardless of the genre, we will always have groups at different levels. You’ll be able to hear some sing for free, some for a love offering, some for a low ticket, and some for a higher ticket. That’s just the nature of the music industry. Even in secular music, there are some events where you can hear music for free.

    However, there should be more than two or three groups in the entire Southern Gospel industry who can command a $30 ticket.

    I wasn’t suggesting that every group in the industry should be getting that rate. Every group in the industry isn’t that good, quite frankly, but we definitely have more than two or three groups that are that good.

    Some fans…and some churches…think the very best groups are worth no more (in terms of entertainment quality) than the least talented groups. They think this way, because they have been trained to think this way by Southern Gospel radio, concert promoters, and marketing/promotions people who don’t have a plan other than doing the same old same old. They put out press releases to established SG media and send radio single compilations out to the same poor quality radio stations they’ve been servicing for years, and then they wonder why the industry isn’t growing.