The Future of Gaither Music Group

The Future of Gaither Music Group

In February of this year, it was announced that Primary Wave Music had acquired interest in the Gaither Music Group and Gaither Publishing. The move coincided somewhat with another announcement that Gaither Family Resources would be closing by March 31st. On the surface, it appears to be an effort to reduce the Gaither businesses while ensuring that the massive Gaither Music catalog remains accessible.

Since then, there have been several releases by Gaither Music Group. A few of them have been new material (The Singing Contractors, Jimmy Fortune, David Phelps, Steven Curtis Chapman), but almost as many have been compilations either from the Homecoming catalog or of artists from decades past. While I’m sure there’s enough unreleased Homecoming material to allow for “new” releases to filter out for several years, one can’t help but wonder why Gaither Music Group is all of a sudden focusing on older recordings.

For example, in October of 2018, Gaither Music Group released Country Gospel Collection Volume One, a compilation album that included previously-released recordings from Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Glen Campbell, and Loretta Lynn, just to name a few. With a few exceptions, most of these artists were ever featured on a Gaither Gospel Series project before (or were even alive to do so). It’s almost like GMG decided to shift their focus from a current artist roster and new material to that of a K-Tel or Time-Life Music model.

(And while one product description states that the recordings come from “Bill Gaither’s rich vault” – which I’m sure is possible – it should be noted that all of these masters are actually controlled by Universal Music, the parent company of Capitol Christian, which distributes Gaither Music Group’s products to market.)

On June 7th of this year, GMG will release a compilation of songs by Patsy Cline entitled Hits & Hymns. The cover includes the well-known Gaither Gospel Series banner, but the song selection is actually a mix between some gospel standards and some of Cline’s well-known country music hits, such as “I Fall To Pieces” and “Crazy.” The only thing missing is a TV announcer saying, “Heartland Music Presents….”

Meanwhile, Wes Hampton and Adam Crabb, both current members of the Gaither Vocal Band, are releasing new albums of solo material outside of the Gaither Music Group label. Hampton’s is being released independently, while Crabb is releasing his through Daywind Records (which is where several former GMG artists have landed in recent years).

Granted, GMG hasn’t always released solo albums from Vocal Band members, but this might also be a sign that the company is phasing out new artists altogether, and any pending “new” releases may be left-over contracts from before Primary Wave came into the picture.

This may be part of an evolution for the company as it phases into Primary Wave, which specializes in artist catalog releases. We will probably see less and less in terms of “new” material from Gaither Music Group as it works to integrate itself into Primary Wave’s model. Aside from PW putting the Gaither catalog in front of a new market, Gaither Music Group may be putting some of Primary Wave’s products in front of the gospel music crowd through the Gaither brand recognition. After all, it wasn’t all that long ago that just having the Gaither name on a product pretty much guaranteed a minimum number of sales.


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Kyle Boreing

Kyle has been writing for MusicScribe since 2008. He is a musician, producer, arranger, and occasional quartet singer, who pays way too much attention to recordings. He is an alumni of Stamps-Baxter School of Music and has shared the stage with many different artists. He also really likes movies that are "so bad they're good." Visit his website at www.kyleboreing.com, or follow him on Twitter @kyleboreing.

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