*Despite EURweb’s exclusive report of Music World Gospel artists being banned by Radio One, business is still going strong in the eyes of Music World Entertainment founder, president and CEO Mathew Knowles.
So much so the music executive chooses to focus his energy on expanding his label’s reach in to the world of AM radio as he shared that his artists are receiving more airplay. With a new year approaching, Knowles is looking to correct past errors regarding the promotion of his gospel artists.
“We didn’t, as a company, we didn’t focus as much. And that was a mistake on our part as a label,” Knowles explained to EUR’s Lee Bailey. “It’s allowed us to give our focus to the entire radio community fully rather than just putting a lot of eggs in one basket. Not that we overlooked the other ones. We never would overlook them. It’s just that we didn’t focus as much as we should and we didn’t build those relationships as strongly as we should.
“It’s an opportunity for us. In the 20 years, we’ve always thought outside the box and it’s been real successful for us,” he continued. “I’m so happy to be able to understand AM radio better and continue to build relationships with all gospel stations. So it’s been an opportunity for us.”
Music World Gospel’s radio station promotion expansion comes as Knowles deals with Radio One pulling all of Music World Music songs and artists from their radio stations around the country. The Music World Gospel roster of artists include Brian Courtney Wilson, BET’s Sunday Best winners Le’Andria Johnson and Amber Bullock, Trin-I-Tee 5:7, Micah Stampley, Juanita Bynum and Vanessa Bell Armstrong.
Although Music World Gospel artists, music from Destiny’s Child and past songs released in conjunction with Music World Music have been reportedly pulled from Radio One stations, the move does not affect new solo material from former Destiny’s Child members Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. The singers had severed their management and recording agreements with Music World prior to a recent lawsuit filed against the imprint by TV One. The network is suing the BET Network, MTV and Music World Music for violating its exclusive rights to the Essence Music Festival.
“All Radio One personnel were told to pull all Music World artists out of rotation immediately and indefinitely! We were told that the mandate came straight from Ms. Hughes and that there would be ramifications for anyone playing or mentioning a Music World artist or song on air,” a Radio One employee, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, told EURweb.com.
When asked about the ban, Mathew Knowles stated he doesn’t get into the “legal side of that.”
He expounded: “I leave that to attorneys to handle this part of it. I think for me and my 20 years in the music industry…whenever situations like this come, I look at them as opportunities, an opportunity that this has allowed for Music World Gospel to really understand better the landscape to build those relationships at radio with the other different affiliates, like Sheridan and Clear Channel and many others.”
In regard to the influence of all radio outlets, Knowles noted how stations on the AM dial are underestimated by record executives in gospel who fail to realize their reach for the gospel community.
“It’s allowed us to approach our business differently and it’s a great thing because the results have been overwhelming as we’ve approached our business differently instead of before,” he explained. “Ninety percent of all our artists radio promotions was done with Radio One. This (new approach) allows us to view that whole landscape differently … we’ve done all of our promotions differently. We’ve done all of our advertising differently. So it’s bit of an opportunity.”
Music World’s focus on its gospel division may be new to some who know the label for its pop and R&B projects. However, the label’s success in recent years has come from a longtime affiliation with gospel that resulted in a couple of offerings going gold.
“I’ve been in gospel since 2002 with our first gold album. People just don’t know the history, unfortunately,” said Knowles, who confessed to Music World being totally focused on gospel and is proud to see his label still around in its 10th year as the 5th largest gospel record label in America. “Our first number one was “The Fighting Temptations” soundtrack. Our second number one was 2003 Michelle Williams. People just don’t know the history. And I get that. We probably haven’t done a good enough job.”
As he looks ahead, Knowles is clear in his objective to rise above the issue with Radio One and make sure Music World Gospel is on track. The lawsuit and airplay ban seemingly has not affected him in the least as he views Radio One’s Cathy Hughes, of all people, as “a friend.”
“I’m happy to say I’m so proud for all the support we’re getting at Music World Gospel because our focus also is the ministry of the artist and, equally important, putting out great music.”