Ranting With Rick: A different approach to making money in the US CCM scene

Saturday 1st September 2001

American commentator and musician RICK ALTIZER has discovered small is good.

Rick Altizer
Rick Altizer

As I alluded to in my last column (for those of you who actually read it) I have yet to make any money from my solo records. I have made three albums and zero dollars. I have worked with the legendary Adrian Belew as a co producer and made - zero dollars. I have had a record company spend tons of money on marketing budgets and made - zero dollars. I have seen my records in stores and seen them advertised in mailings that went to thousands of people and made - zero dollars. I even got a few good reviews right here in this magazine and made - you guessed it.

Now, don't get me wrong - it's not that I'm all about the money. I love music and I enjoy the ministry the Lord has allowed me to participate in. I have done plenty of free concerts, given my CDs away to countless eight year olds who look up at me with those puppy dog eyes and say, "I sure would like one of your CDs, but I don't have any money." I've done all of this, but still it would be nice to make some income for my family. My wife can only go so far with, "Look honey! Here's my name in big letters on the front of this CD." "That's great," she said for the first three years. After that it became, "Why are you spending all of that time recording CDs that nobody is buying?" Well, she had me there. What was I to do?

Suddenly, a miracle happened. I got an email from a respected industry insider who asked if he could be my manager. "What have I got to lose?" I asked myself. I'm making zero dollars now so how could it be worse? "Sure," I said, throwing caution to the wind. The next week I'm sitting in the office of a record company (owned by Audio Adrenaline) and we're talking about me producing this worship record called 'Soul Lift'. I would write all the songs and play all the instruments (that part was going to be a secret). It sounded like a fun idea. Then the miracle - before I began I actually got a cheque with my name on it. Money, real money! For writing and recording songs! The only catch would be I wouldn't sing the songs. I'd have to work with guys like Johnny Cash, Russ Taff, Vestal Goodman, Jars Of Clay and Audio Adrenaline. Hmm, I would put this in the "no brainer" category.

It's like my eyes were opened and I saw a whole new world for the first time. My name in big letters on the front of the CD - Zero dollars. My name in small letters on the back of the CD saying "Produced by" - Dollars! SMALL IS GOOD!! It's the most wonderful feeling in the world. To actually deposit a cheque into my bank account for doing MUSIC! Now I know how Kevin Max must feel. It's awesome! No wonder he changed his name.

And it keeps getting better. LaRue is coming over to my house - TOMORROW! Russ Taff took me to lunch - he actually paid for my lunch. This is like some dream come true. I got some new band that wants me to produce their record - and guess what - they're gonna pay me money to do it. I can hardly contain myself.

I bought my son the new bike he wanted for his birthday. I'm finally getting my house painted. I might even open up a savings account. Dreams do come true! God is faithful! I hope I get some work for next month. Pray for me everyone, I can scarcely take it in.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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