Marketing Oddities: Gaither Music

by | Mar 27, 2024 | Commentary & Observations, Marketing Oddities, Music Business, Music Tech, Oddities

Ok, so first of all, I don’t have a problem with the rebranding of Bill Gaither’s enLighten. It’s business. The station still has a good chunk of the same playlists as before (for better or worse).

What I DO have a problem with is how a large number of Gaither-related releases are credited. At some point, they seem to have just quit trying to credit artists and just label it “Gaither” as the artist.

Who sang that? Oh…”Gaither.”

Now keep in mind, a good chunk of Gaither Gospel Series releases include a variety of artists. Standard album credit goes to “Various Artists” with individual songs credited to the respective artists. Also keep in mind that the Gaither Gospel Series/Homecoming series includes A LOT of releases! There are over 100 different titles, many of which include various artists in a live setting. If you average 15 songs per release, that’s 1500 songs that would need to be individually credited.

Look, I get it. When people search “Gaither,” you want them to find your releases. It’s also name recognition (the same reason that enLighten was rebranded with Bill Gaither’s name included). But would you have any idea who was actually singing the song above if that’s all you saw come up on your SiriusXM radio/app (or any of the streaming services) if you hadn’t seen the video? I wouldn’t.

Then there are the releases that DO credit the performing artist – along with “Gaither.” Let’s take the recent album titled Gaither Tribute. For starters, despite that being the biggest text on the cover, “Gaither Tribute” is not the official title as given on streaming platforms. The OFFICIAL title (according to Apple Music and Spotify) is Award-winning artists Honor The Songs of Bill & Gloria Gaither. In fact, if you simply search “Gaither Tribute” on Apple Music, this title won’t even show up in results. It DOES show up on Spotify, but it still gives what appears to be the subtitle as the primary title.

Apple Music listing

Spotify listing

As noted, the primary artists are indeed credited (mostly), but they are preceded by “Gaither,” as if to say, “Yes, this is a Gaither-sanctioned release.” If you are seeing this listed on a smaller screen (such as a phone or a dash radio), the primary artists are going to be at least partially hidden. Again – I don’t begrudge branding, but look at the Spotify listing – How many times does the name Gaither appear (I would argue) unnecessarily? In this case, Bill and Gloria don’t even appear on the album itself, but “Gaither” is credited as the primary artist.

It’s entirely possible that this is (at least partially) a result of streaming platforms requiring a primary artist be listed for all releases. Since most listeners will search for “Gaither” when looking up these albums, it’s just easier across the board to list the primary artist as “Gaither.” At least, that would be my logic. The problem is that once you list a primary artist, they are credited on each song, and it would be disingenuous to say that Bill or Gloria Gaither actually performed any of the songs to which they are credited.

Of course, the Gaither Music catalog is a bit of an oddity in and of itself anyway, and it may just be that the unique circumstance just don’t fit in with the streaming crediting format. How does one credit when an artist or entity is “presenting” an album? Should Bill & Gloria be credited as the primary artist? To my knowledge, there isn’t a way to list a “presenting” credit; you either put it in the title or you put it as the artist.

There may also be a question of whether or not an artist has permission to be credited. Not every artist on a Gaither Music project is exclusive to Gaither Music, and appearing on such a release may require an approval from another record label. Some labels may flat out refuse the appearance entirely (such as when Paul Simon appeared in person during the New York City tapings in 2002), while others may only allow an uncredited appearance. Label politics can be a confusing thing!

Still, the result can often be confusing. Or, it may be a genius marketing ploy – if all you see listed is “Gaither” as the artist, you’re gonna go search for that artist…fair or not.

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Kyle Boreing

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, or follow him on Twitter @kyleboreing.


  1. Brad

    I have a very large music collection, and I keep it organized on my phone. It is mostly CDs that I imported through iTunes, but also includes digitized LPs and downloads. I have a music player app that allows me to sort my collection in a variety of ways. My preference is to select an artist and then have all that artist’s albums listed in order of release date. The most difficult artist to organize was the Gaither Homecoming albums. As you mentioned, there are over 100 albums in this series, and when a CD is imported with 18 songs there might be 15 different artists listed. In addition to Bill & Goria Gaither or Homecoming Friends (for the songs that are sung like a choir) there is also artists such as The Hoppers and Jeff & Sheri Easter. However, there are also songs where the artists listed is something like “Wesley Pritchard, Amy Lambert, Ladye Love Smith, and Stephen Hill”. This is all one artist and creates a listing in my collection for this “artist” which only contains one song. To keep all of these random combinations of singers from cluttering up my music collection, I decided to label all my Gaither albums with an artist of “Gaither Homecoming”. I guess this was a very long post to say that the reason I have so many songs labeled Gaither in my personal collection is for organization purposes. I am sure the streaming platforms put a lot more thought into their music organization than I do into mine (or maybe not because I am pretty OCD about my music collection).

    • Kyle Boreing

      It would be helpful if there could be an option to list “Additional Artists,” or at least tag the artists.

  2. NBer

    I had the same issue. When I ripped my CD’s on iTunes and then loaded them onto my iPad, I changed Gaither under artist to the actual artist. The problem when I would go to listen to that album, the iPad would jump the tracks that had a different artist labelled. So I went back put the Gaither name back in and put the actual artist in parenthesis beside the song title.
    Also on the radio I will often hear the announcers just say “those are the Gaither’s” instead of the actual artist. Drives me nuts! I don’t know if it laziness or they don’t know the difference. My guess is they don’t know the difference as most Christian radio here in Eastern Canada is staffed by volunteers. The songs are probably loaded into the automation system with the Gaither name showing up and unless you are a real super duper die hard fan you are not going to know the difference.


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