Let's make it exclusive: Happy New Year!
Reports are in about the progress of gospel and Christian music from 2006 and according to Nielsen Christian Soundscan and the Gospel Music Association (GMA), the reports look favorable. US gospel album sales increased since 2005 and shows an impressive interest in digital sales as well. Reports concluded that in the first six months of 2006, gospel music sales grew 11.6 percent, compared to the four percent decline during the first quarter of 2005. The reports also had a hard time trying to categorize gospel music since most of their audiences borderline musical genres and styles. Styles include praise-and-worship, hip-hop and hardcore metal bands. Even though Christian music only makes up 6% in the overall music industry, the genre continues to grow. Top-selling artists of 2006 included Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, Kutless and Yolanda Adams.
Now onto the bad news: You may have already heard about the Max Siegel departure from his position(s) at Zomba/Verity, but if you haven't - here it goes. What is hailed as being one of the biggest moves and transitions of 2006, Gospel Music Executive, Max Siegel announced his departure from Verity Records (President) and Zomba Recording Corporation (Vice-President) and will be venturing into NASCAR as the CEO of Dale Earnhardt Enterprises, based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Siegel's work in gospel music has been fantastic. He leaves behind a label that is now stronger than it ever was; racking up 42% of all of gospel music sales and a roster that includes heavyweights such as Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Donnie McClurkin, Andrae' Crouch, Richard Smallwood and Donald Lawrence.
Jazzy Jordan, a former employee of Zomba and veteran in the gospel industry whom left Verity to start his own label (Jordan Entertainment), was called back to run both Verity and GospoCentric Records. Gessie J. Thompson now operates Jordan's label.
The Stellar Awards will be his last public appearance in the Gospel music industry. Tough.