I've been meaning to post this blurb about my article on the demise of Beatmart & Gotee Records for a bit. It also covers the business struggles of other gospel rap labels and was recently published in the latest issue (#11) of S.O.U.L. Magazine.
Here's your tease, then please go get your copy at: www.thesoulmag.com
On its face, it’s easy to understand why one would perceive Christian hip hop to be an easy, even lucrative, business.
After all, mainstream hip hop has a strong track record of sales, influence, and popularity – primarily among the coveted youth and young adult demographics that have fair amounts of disposable income. It’s also conceivable that if you cleaned it up a little bit, rounded off the rough edges, and injected it with Jesus talk it would be even more commercially attractive to parents and churchgoers who like to buy music for iPods that belong to them or their children. Add the “God-is-on-our-side” argument and you’ve just about got a license to print money, right?
Not exactly. There are still those lingering issues of truly understanding the gospel rap mindset, getting paid by your distributors (on time or at all), nurturing an entrepreneurial willingness to accept market mistakes as learning experiences, and a host of other challenges. Just ask Beatmart or Gotee Records – (apparently) two of the latest tombstones in a graveyard full previously powerful holy hip hop labels.
“I don’t think you have to have a degree from MIT to figure out that the sun is clearly setting on [us] as a traditional record label,” Troy Collins, president of Beatmart Recordings, said. “But I think that’s just a symptomatic condition of where the music business is right now.”
As it stands, the company’s last official release was Eric Cross’ The Art of Composition on April 1, 2008. But Troy (brother to producer and Beatmart CEO Todd) Collins promises that Beatmart isn’t dead and is instead evolving toward a, yet publicly unspecified, viral marketing / community-building entertainment company that will serve the Christian hip hop culture.
“Beatmart is still very much in business, but not in business as the consumer would perceive it,” Collins said.