Hey you! Yeah… you. Come over here. I’ve got some air to sell you. Yeah, you can get it free on your own but you should buy mine. After all, it’s ministry.
Payola is an ugly part of the mainstream music scene particularly in radio. It has crept into media as well albeit to a lesser degree. If you place an advertisement we’ll guarantee an article or some sort of coverage. If you pay us for a “promotion” we’ll run your single 30-50 times a week even if music testing shows our listeners don’t like it.
Indies can’t compete with that most of the time. They can’t get enough face time to win over the gatekeepers in order to be in the prime spots.
All of this sucks, right? Greed takes the place of letting the best rise to the top. What people are left with is a bunch of over-compressed auto tune flavor of the moment crap.
The pay to play mentality has slowly crept into our scene. You don’t get supported unless you pay. It used to at least be about “we like and agree with your ministry style so we’ll support you but not them” in years past. Now it’s starting to become about money before service and support. Sure, we’ll support you but you gotta give us some money. Never mind how “good” your music is or the quality of what you’re doing. If you pay, you’re in. Unfortunately amongst Christians it’s easy to take advantage. People are naturally more trusting.
When did money become more important than building and supporting the scene? From my vantage point it’s been slowly creeping in for a few years. For the record, I have challenged a few people I’ve seen doing this. Yes, I do understand that “stuff” costs money. Fair enough but I think you have an idea of what I’m talking about.
This reminds me of why I got involved in our scene and it’s reinforced my passion for doing it the right way.
Sometimes the best things in life really are free.