*The plummeting recording industry has caused labels to use various non-traditional tactics to engage consumers and survive in the music business. In the gospel industry in particular, the latest emerging marketing trend is videos migrating from television to the Web.
Gospel music fans, welcome to the next wave of interactive music marketing — online video premieres. Gospel labels have seemingly replaced television with the Internet as the medium of choice to introduce videos, spurring a new type of competition and support for record sales.
In less than a month, six new gospel videos were released — most of them exclusively online.
The same-day emergence of videos from chart toppers Kirk Franklin (“I Smile”) and VaShawn Mitchell (“Nobody Greater”) signaled the trend.
Both videos were released in the traditional manner– on a Tuesday, the universal day of new music releases. But, they premiered exclusively on gospel music blogs.
Tri-ni-tee 5:7 followed suit by debuting “Heaven Hear My Heart” exclusively on Essence.com, while Kim Burrell took a different digital route to introduce “Sweeter” (the first single from her “Love” album) on YouTube.
These days, digital only campaigns are a no brainer, whether spearheaded by labels or artists who foot the bill themselves. Mass cell phone and email blasts, Twitter parties, Facebook event pages, breaking new releases online exclusively on Web sites and selling on Rhapsody, Amazon and iTunes have become the millennial norm. What’s intriguing about this trend in the gospel industry is how the opportunity to sell records is leveraged.
For example, Jo Jo Pada of Ignition PR promoted the worldwide online simulcast of the new Dawkins and Dawkins video “Get Down” on 8 popular gospel music Web sites, integrating social media channels, Ustream, Vemo, and Facebook that each allow fan feedback.
Considering gospel television programs that air videos are scarce, this marketing shift was inevitable. Pada says labels have resorted to online video premieres “because we [gospel] really don’t have too many T.V. programs like mainstream.”