Belmont recently hosted a curb seminar, “Patience & Perseverance: The Success Story of Centricity Music,” featuring guest speakers Steve Ford, general manager of Centricity Music and John Mays, vice president of A&R of Centricity Music. They shared their journey and experience running a Christian independent label, as well as what matters most when taking on new artists.
Mays shared that if you start something from scratch, there isn’t a grid to figure out who to be or even how to form a mission statement. Ford said that when you don’t have catalog or residual sales of a hit, you’re starting from the bottom of the sales side, as well. He shared that their boss’ heart for making dreams come true, love for worship and love for worship music created a desire for service that permeates in their company.
That development is different at every label, Mays said, as you try to find the sound, style and songs right for each artist. Ford shared the risk and reward associated with artist development, as significant amounts of money are spent developing each medium. He said that in country and Christian music, you can’t break an artist without radio. Mays shared that you hear the word “consumption” more than the word “sales,” nowadays. He said that number is becoming more important than even a Billboard chart today.
Mays and Ford shared that they are looking for people that are doing their best already to promote themselves. They’re looking for someone with an engine that isn’t waiting on someone, a label for instance, to come turn it for them. They shared that a self-starter is definitely appreciated and noticed in this industry.
The event concluded by Mays stating that what is important is what will never change: values of relationship, support and faith. He said that music and the way you go about doing it will always change, but that they hope to embrace those things even more quickly. This event was moderated by Dan Keen, instructor of music business.