A new movement is on the scene, the Gospel Artists Progressive (G.A.P.) Movement, is a new alliance that has pledged to raise awareness of music industry business practices for gospel artists.
The non-profit group aims to educate gospel artists about recording contracts, copyrights, publishing rights and other financial business issues that have emerged recently as the genre´s popularity has risen.
Gospel music -- which annually accounts for more than $1 billion in record sales in the U.S. alone and close to 10 percent of all music types sold -- has only a handful of superstars among the more than 1,000 recording acts and performing groups. G.A.P. will call for education and reforms that may allow hundreds of talented and successful artists to review and improve the current compensation structure and preserve artistic freedoms.
The G.A.P. Movement is calling for a gospel music business summit to be held this August where the group will also petition for the establishment of an artists, musicians and songwriters benefits system that would offer healthcare, retirement and pro bono legal services.
´I earnestly support the mission of the G.A.P. Movement,´ said the group´s chairman, the Rev. Robert Lowe, pastor of the 4,000-member Mount Moriah AME Church in Queens, N.Y., host of the I.Gospel television show and a former gospel music artist himself. ´It´s long overdue that we seek to bring more equity for all persons involved in this industry,´ said Lowe who also operates
a small gospel label, Moriah Music Group.
Other members of the GAP board include: Brenda Culpepper, former president and owner of PepperCo Records, Dean Rev. Jerry Streets, Battell Chapel chaplain at Yale University, gospel superstars James Hall and Grammy-nominated Twinkie Clark of the Clark Sisters.
Clark, the Grammy-nominated writer of hits like ´You Bought the Sunshine´ and ´Is My Living in Vain,´ added, ´I just want artists to be knowledgeable about their rights,´ she said.