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Steve Bell Featured in Report On Business

Canada’s leading Christian male vocalist, Steve Bell, was featured on the weekend in Report on Business, the monthly glossy magazine supplement to Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe & Mail.

The article, entitled Digital revolution inspires musician to take different path; begins with the story so familiar to our Canadian readers, the growth of Steve’s music ministry and Signpost Music with partner Dave Zeglinski.  But then…

Five years ago, Mr. Bell and Mr. Zeglinski begun to notice change in the industry…

First, the music industry began migrating to the Internet. The digitization of music had dire consequences on Mr. Bell. It meant that people were less inclined to pay $20 for an album, particularly when they could buy a used copy for a fraction of the price or download some – or all – of the albums online.

In addition, many specialty faith-based bookstores were either shutting down or going broke… This shift was critical to Mr. Bell as each independent’s closing meant one less distribution point for albums and concert tickets.  In a world increasingly moving toward iTunes, Amazon.com and the Big-Box model, old distribution formulas were being shaken…

Complicating matters was the fact that recording a digital product had become so easy; meaning, essentially anyone could get into the ‘music ministry’ business. Adding insult to injury, many of these new entrants were willing to cut their album and ticket prices…

Mr. Bell was fond of an Old Testament-inspired maxim that said “You can’t see the new Jerusalem if you can’t leave the old Egypt.” But what exactly, he and Mr. Zeglinski wondered, did the “new Jerusalem” look like? And while he knew he almost certainly had to let go of some parts of his old business model, what parts were essential to keep?

The article then lists some of the elements of the “different way” of making music the pair are utilizing

…This ‘different way’ meant making some tough choices; one of which included releasing all of the artists they’d brought into Signpost only a few years earlier in order to focus exclusively on Mr. Bell’s music.

A second key change was moving toward articulating a new business model; more specifically, a new funding model that included the launch of IncarNATION Ministries. The organization was created to allow Mr. Bell’s supporters to become modern-day ‘patrons of the arts.’…

…A third key change involved seeking grants available to registered Canadian arts groups, which included Signpost Music. While IncarNATION …had already been in action since 2004, recently it became evident that fundraising efforts needed to be stepped-up…

Click here to link to the entire Report on Business article by Reg Litz.

In another Steve Bell story linked on Wednesday at Thinking Out Loud; Christian Week is reporting that Kindness, Bell’s latest album features a title song written by Brian McLaren.   Yes.   That Brian McLaren.

…Brian McLaren, the controversial evangelical pastor, author and speaker, wrote the title track.

“Here’s a fellow who has written some books that have really stressed a lot of people out!  And for good reason!   But the vitriol that he has received back because of it is shocking,” Bell says. “The mean-spirited responses and almost the hatred that has come from [some] Christians is almost overwhelming. So I found it quite moving that he would be the one to write a song called ‘Kindness.'”

As Bell studied the word “kindness,” he realized the magnitude of it, particularly its root in the word “kin.”

“The only motivation that will ever sustain kindness in the long run is going to be a deep appreciation of a fundamental kinship between all things,” Bell says, adding that it goes back to the kinship in the trinity; “the Son loving the Father and vice versa; “which ultimately results in the Father’s love for us.

“So all of a sudden a word like kindness —kindness — you realize this is no soft word,” Bell says. “This is a big word. This is not sentimental, it’s not sweet … this is [the] fabric of life.”

Continue reading all of Aaron Epp’s article at Christian Week.

As we prepared this story on Friday night to kick off a new year at Christian Book Shop Talk, Steve Bell was experiencing one of the hazards of being a musician on the road:  Stuck in Fargo, North Dakota; unable to make it home for New Year’s Eve.

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