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There's a war going on in the realm of internet radio, but the gospel music industry has yet to dress for battle. Sign the petition, today!

nternet radio as we know it is fading into oblivion; but in gospel music, it's business as usual. With newly released performance royalty rates, the Copyright Royalty Board basically eliminated one of the biggest, yet often overlooked and even undervalued sectors of the recording industry by way of egregious enforcement of higher performance royalty rates. In the ruling, the CRB and Sound Exchange granted streaming sites like Pandora and Spotify favorable rates, but internet radio took the greatest hit of all, nearly eliminating all small webcasters and microcasters by failing to uphold provisions in the Webcasters Settlement Act of 2009.

Read about the Internet Radio Fairness Act here.

With more and more terrestrial radio stations under larger corporate umbrellas, playlists across the nation mimic the taste of music directors with little to no knowledge of regional taste. Remember Kathy Hughes' nationwide ban on Music World artists? Internet radio was a respite for Matthew Knowles and his artists as Knowles, Hughes and the artists worked to restore airplay. In gospel music, stalwart segmentations like mass choirs and quartets have been pushed out by record labels and program directors catering to the whims of advertisers of a contrived younger audience. This ignorance has not only impacted listeners, but churches and worship services who now reflect the change. Many stations start and end their days with nationally syndicated shows like: The Yolanda Adams Morning Show or the Nightly Spirit with Willie Moore, Jr with no local alternatives, another problem formerly solved by internet radio.

Let's face it though, gospel music is an afterthought within the recording industry at large. When's the last time you saw a gospel artist perform during the main show at the Grammys? It's a pre-show genre, indicative of consumer spending and not the toe tapping, soul stirring or head bobbing hits the genre produces. Gospel music has been ostracized with no seat at the industry table, just crumbs. Who gets fat off crumbs? Gospel music does apparently; and with a major shut down of internet radio looming, even that serving of crumbs is in jeopardy.

But, who cares...?

For those looking for quality choir and quartet music, internet radio has served that segment well. The world of internet radio is abundant, flowing with hidden gems found in independent artists and the extended shelf life of hit radio singles. The biggest commercial loss in all this is the independent artists who stand to lose much more than radio spins with the loss of internet radio. But, who cares...who really cares?

See why many internet stations are turning to payola

Award shows are still being planned. Huge concerts are still underway and social media remains abuzz with the whimsical "who, what, when and where" chatter.One must ask: "does the gospel industry even know about the CRB ruling?" Does the gospel industry really care about artists who will fall to the bottom of terrestrial playlists or be eliminated from airplay altogether? The answer seems to be an overwhelming no.

Kevin James of Christian Jukebox Radio had this to say:

This is why gospel music is where it is today NO LEADERSHIP! Myself and Henry Harris have been trying for the last 15 years to make our voices heard but no one from the gospel genre wanted to join us. Now who going to represent the gospel side of music in this matter? The gospel genre has no clue what is going on in the music industry! The GMWA should be all over top of this with the number of members they have. We have no voice, there's no leader in place who cares about the genre. They need a department in place that handles music policy, someone who will keep up with whats going on in the industry! Its not the 'gospel music industry', it's the music industry. Gospel music is far behind in this game

Who will go for us?

There has been nothing from the gospel music industry to suggest any level of support for gospel music heard on internet radio. Zero. Zilch! What is palpable however, is the deafening silence from artists, managers, publicists and even internet radio stations who remain oblivious to the fact that war has been declared upon their medium. Let's face it, some feel no threat because of complacency and their current place or role within the industry.

Act before it's too late!

Answer the call

This is a call to gospel music labels, artists, publicists, managers, booking agents, and listeners: if you want to lose one of gospel's greatest industry gifts, continue to do nothing. But if you care about gospel music at all, join the fight and support internet radio. Sign the petitions, get others involved and contact your political representatives in an effort to preserve the digital audience the recording industry stands to gain February 1st.

Sign the SaveNetRadio 3.0 petition

Sign the Petition in opposition of the CRB's webcaster rate decision

Last Updated: 20 January 2016
© 2014 Gospel Synergy Magazine
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