digital or physical releases? here’s where things stand…

Posted on: May 12th, 2009 by Jennifer 28 Comments
I've read all of your posts (and emails) with great interest. It is always important to hear what the longtime fans and supporters are most interested in and clearly many of you still want a physical full length album release.

Let me respond…

As most of you know, the music business is shifting at warp speed toward digital music becoming the predominant form of purchasing. There are numerous reasons for this – economics, technology (itunes, ipods, iphones), ease, and supply. The big retailers drive a hard bargain with labels in terms of what the labels need to pay for price/positioning in their stores and it has become less and less cost effective for labels to spend their dollars buying positioning in a store without a massive radio hit or tour happening to support the release.

Amy is currently enjoying a very fruitful period of songwriting — the most productive season of new music in a lot of years. But she is also in a place where she is writing for the pure joy of writing and trying to capture what compels her without worrying about radio play or touring. It is a very creative and freeing process for her. She is also working as an independent artist right now and is recording music for the first time without a label. Again, a very freeing process for her as an artist for the here and now.

Different than other albums in her past, Amy is not currently recording an "album." Instead, she is enjoying going in with different producers and exploring different sounds and paths without worrying about the cohesive whole. That is not to say she doesn't believe in the impact of a full album (she does), but after 30 years of making music she is enjoying the creative process of being in the moment and letting each song speak for itself rather than how they all fit into a whole project.

So for now, we are going to continue to release songs as they come in either singles or ep format… and those releases will be digital. But we are also working on a plan to make those releases available on vinyl and cd sooner rather than later. With artwork :)

Rather than hold on to the past, I would encourage you to embrace where Amy is creatively right now. More new Amy Grant music will be coming your way — faster without long delays — than you've ever known, but it might not be in the form of a full blown album.

I do not believe Amy has recorded her last album — i think there are plenty of full length recordings in her future, but right now she wants to have fun with recording/releasing music in a new and interesting way. Enjoy the ride with us.

Jen

  • Esther Rasmussen

    Hi
    I am loving the way Amy is releasing music at the moment. It is so instantaneous and feels like we are on this creative journey with her. It also makes it very accessible for people like me who live in England. Hope she can come visit the UK sometime.

  • stephen Kaiss

    For me… I don’t go to a record store anymore. I buy all my music digitally. Most comes from Itunes. So it is nice to see Amy embrace the future. And we get new songs quicker. I am a digital fan. Now I need to have a digital copy of “Be Still”.

  • http://www.dewaynehamby.com DeWayne

    Jennifer, I thought Amy was with Sparrow now or was that just for her prior releases?

  • Cheryl Armstrong

    Hi Jennifer -
    I, personally, am enjoying the new songs and the way Amy is giving us bits and pieces of her life in a continuous flow rather than in a one lump sum momentum. If this is what makes Amy happy, I say go for it. I’m a forever fan any way she chooses. I also enjoy getting twitters from her on my cell phone. To be a part of this is a wonderful feeling! At least, these are my thoughts on this. Tell Amy to keep up the good work she is doing! As someone said once, Amy could sing the phone book and do an incredible job of it. Thank you, Jen, for keeping us up to date on all of this.
    Cheryl Armstrong

  • http://www.inrebasworld.com Reba Baskett

    Love it….Can’t tell you the last time I bought a CD. Artwork is okay…would rather have more music than artwork.
    Also love the sound of the new stuff. Honestly I had not liked the last several albums – My favorite stuff has always been songs on special projects or ‘b side’ kind of stuff.I love the raw sound of “Unafraid”.
    The lyrics of the new stuff have been amazing and I am excited about this new indie digital front. Amy raw and unedited will always be the best.
    Can’t wait to start taking photos as shows again (hint hint…more Nashville shows)

  • http://poptunes.org wanye

    I’m liking the idea of regular EP releases via download, but if possible, make them available to non-US customers via sites like amazon.co.uk (song shows up but isnt available to buy) or 7digital.com
    some of us cant/won’t use Itunes, and it’s restrictions like region/DRM that turn us otherwise law-abiding amy fans into pirates! (i *want* to buy it, but so far am having difficulty. at least with physical releases, amazon.com will ship it to the UK, even if it takes a few weeks!)
    and yes, it would be lovely to see amy in the UK again. its been over 10 years since i saw her here, and i cant afford to fly to florida, then do a roadtrip to georgia and back (like i did in october last year) very often! :)

  • Jen

    Amy has an amazing relationship with the people at EMI and has signed an exclusive catalogue deal with them for all her past recordings. There is an open door for her new recordings but she is not under “contract” with them as a Sparrow recording artist.

  • casandra

    I think I’m suffering from a major case of “want my cake and eat it too” :)
    I understand her creative surge and it’s probably really satisfying on Amy’s part to write, record and release within a few months time as opposed to the long process of releasing an album. It’s interesting to watch the industry change and adjust…I guess us “jewel case, LP era” folks will just have to adjust right along with it. :)
    Just an idea- what if Amy released liner notes, written lyrics or photos from production just to FOA members? Give us a liner-note fix. :) That way FOA members have an exclusive, the linernote readers have their sought after details; Amy can share her personal thoughts/inspiration behind the songs and it’s all done inhouse without the expense of a full production. Plus, it’s another reason for ppl to purchase a membership to FOA. :)
    Thanks for the update. :)
    God Bless.
    Parkway_mom/Spazzymommy

  • Sara

    Hey Jen,
    I agree the music industry is changing at warp speed and to remain a artist of interest it is important that artists take that change into consideration when working on new projects. I’m glad to hear that Amy is enjoying some time to be an artist and explore new avenues. Attawaytogo Amy!
    Thanks for the heads up Jen. I will always support y’alls efforts!

  • cyn

    SWEET!!-I’ll take whatever, every color and all sizes! Thank you! Love this new Amy blitz!

  • Sandy

    I´m from Germany, and I´m happy about EVERY new song, not matter which way Amy wants to share her new music to us.
    I-tunes is fine, so I can get it here in Germany too.
    I also like the idea of some new pics or personal notes from Amy only to FOA-members.
    (or little videos?)
    I think the most important reason for many of getting a physical CD are the PICS and Amys personal notes and the LYRICS.
    It would be great if here at FOA management could post the lyrics to each new song.
    (At the message board someone asked for the lyrics of “unafraid”)
    Amy is now more than 30 years in the music business, she has touched so many hearts and souls, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR ME IS THAT SHE DOESN´T STOP WRITING AND SINGING SONGS..
    2009 people is I-tunes, amazon, my space, youtube etc. TIME..
    AND IT`S great that Amy STILL is here..she recorded her music on vinyl, on CD..and now it´s DIGITAL time:-)
    Please tell Amy, that it´s always a pleasure to read her little “TWITTER-notes”
    Maybe she doesn´t find much sense in doing this;-)
    She does it for US..and that´s a nice and lovely gesture from her.
    Thanks JEN for keeping us updated!!
    Sandy

  • Dasha

    I agree with Sandy and Casandra. I think there should be some sort of FoA exclusive, but I’ve always always said that if Amy just read the phone book, I’d buy it. I too am a forever fan.
    Thanks for all the updates and the tweets. Any way we get new music is fine with me as long as there are shows sometime, somewhere. I’ve got 28 people ready to buy tickets for a San Francisco/Sacramento show.

  • James Waddell

    I am all for the digital release, but i do/will miss the credits in the liner notes…knowing who produced, sang, played etc…has always been fun for me…on itunes many artists release liner notes digitally too…just a thought…maybe that would help to ease our minds…p.s. thanks for the lyrics for unafraid…how about the credits for she colors my day and unafraid…love all the work you do…you make us all feel like we are an important part of this process…you are blessed

  • Casandra

    Dasha, you may want to read on the boards- apparently, Jen agreed with us too. :)

  • Dave

    Finally! someone gets it. I am so over Nashville’s (not hatin’on NV) need to churn out product every 6 months on one artist. I know it all comes down to dollars and I hope that many of Amy’s new tunes “break out” and the labels line up at the door. If not at least she can look her family, friends and staff in the eyes and say “We made music that was pure, authentic, organic and unafraid” Lead On…..

  • Ryan

    I agree. Times are changing and one must do what is the right and relevant thing in the music industry. I do love full length albums but I think the EP’s are a cool idea. My only suggestion is – whatever studio recorded songs that do not make it on albums etc they should be put on a special EP. I know most of us would love to purchase “How do you manage that,” “Where are you,” “I feel fine,” “I got you,” “walk on water,” etc… Some of Amy’s best music never made it on an album or on a B. side of a single. Songs like “passion for life” from the Heart In Motion time would be nice as well.
    Amy continues to move me personally with her lyrics alone. It is an amazing thing when a person can tap into exactly how you feel about everything. That makes her so relatable and personable for so many millions of people!! Keep up the great work!

  • Melissa Lee

    I LOVE the idea of releasing songs here and there — new music from Amy every few months sure beats an entire album every six years! Bring on the era of the EP! I’m looking forward to it!

  • http://www.amygrant.fw.hu Viktória Nyíri

    I’m very sad, bacause it’s a wonderful feeling to hold your favorite singer’s cd in your hands and watching and reading it. Maybe I’m old-fashioned but I will miss it very much.

  • Michelle Gibson

    How can we embrace music we can’t hear because it’s not available in a format that everyone can access?

  • Michelle Gibson

    I have been following Amy and listening to her music since 1986. While I am aware of
    the increasing popularity of digital music, I, like other Amy fans who have posted here, do not have an Ipod or other digital music device, and prefer to listen to music somewhere other than in front of my computer. I also enjoy the artwork, and especially the lyric inserts that come with an actual CD. If releasing a CD is no longer an acceptable option, than please consider adding a music feature to FOA where paid members can at least hear Amy’s new songs and read the lyrics and/or creating an FOA digital store which would be a SECURE, easy to use site where we can download new music. Many of Amy’s fans are her contemporary’s – part of her generation, not the younger, digital generation. We want to embrace Amy’s creativity and new music, too. Please allow us to be part of that.

  • Michelle Gibson

    It’s great that Amy wants to try new things, but I’m sure she doesn’t want to abandon any of her fans in the process. I’m sure she wants and would be willing to do whatever it would take to keep her music accessible to all of us. If she knew the
    digital route makes her music inaccessible to some of us, she would want to do something to make sure her music stays accessible to all of us. Because all of Amy’s fans are important to her, not just the ones with ipods.

  • Michelle Gibson

    I finally figured out what I am really trying to say. For 20+ years I have been listening to and inspired by Amy’s music, and, to use Jen’s term, embracing Amy’s music and creativity. I want very much to continue doing just that. I know all of us here do, and that’s what Amy and her management want. Computers provide a way to
    reach a lot of people, but they are not part of Amy’s or any artist’s creative process and they shouldn’t have to be the only way to connect with the result of that process. As a music fan, an Amy fan, and and a singer, what I am trying to say is, for those of us who aren’t into all this digital stuff, for those of us who can better embrace creativity without the hinderance of technology, the way to help/allow us to continue to embrace Amy and her music is to get the computer out of the way and just give us the music.

  • Laura

    Thanks for keeping us in the loop Jen! I’m thrilled everytime Amy releases something new, whether on a CD or digitally. Can’t wait to hear the new stuff!

  • Jennifer

    Michelle – I read your comments but I do not follow your logic. You say you do not want to listen to Amy’s music on your computer and yet one of your solutions was to make Amy’s music available on http://www.amygrant.com so that members can listen to it and download it? Is it just Itunes or an Ipod that bothers you? I don’t follow. Besides, if you read my post carefully you would have read the part where I said we will still be releasing music in a physical format but that it won’t come as frequently as the eps come digitally. We are trying to serve everyone the best we can and I hope you take some solace in that message.
    jennifer

  • http://www.oneduffy.blogspot.com christy

    I’ve been an AG fan since 1979 – I remember the excitement of having my mom drive me to the Christian book store to pick up Amy’s latest release. It was torture, holding the record in my hands, waiting to get home to put it on the record player. I’d pour over the liner notes and listen to the album over and over and over.
    Those are fond memories but time marches on. Now I don’t care how the music gets out, just get it out! I’m so happy to have some new Amy music! And it’s a bonus that the digital releases don’t get scratched. :-)

  • Zoe W

    Hi Jen,
    I am just so thrilled to have new songs from Amy and songs that are meaningful to her. To be up to date with her as an artist is fantastic.I have been praying for her that she would enjoy her writing at this moment in time and so am thrilled to hear that she is feeling really creative. I love the quality and the honesty of her latest songs – something that reveals the true Amy and has been a mark of her work throughout her career so far. Please thank her for us – and keep those songs coming! Zoex

  • Sean

    I love the idea of more frequent digital releases. It makes me think of two things: first, how few albums Amy’s been able to get released in the past decade or so (and the corporate/marketing challenges that have accompanied them); and second, how much amazing music Amy wrote and recorded during the ‘Behind the Eyes’ sessions compared to what was able to be fit on the 12-track CD.
    The idea of Amy untethering herself from the corporate machine and releasing her music on her own terms, doing so more frequently AND without necessarily having to withhold songs simply because they aren’t the right “fit” for an album sounds like a dream come true.
    Don’t get me wrong: I still would love to see Amy release full-length CDs in the future. She seems to be among a waning few artists who understand how to put together rich, coherent albums with little if any filler. But the ‘She Colors My Day” EP and the FOA release of the unreleased ‘Behind the Eyes’ tracks (and, specifically, the quality of the songwriting on all those tracks) suggests that 10- to 12-song albums need no longer be the sole organizing format for Amy’s music.
    (That said, downloadable art and/or CD liner notes for each release would be fabu – even via iTunes download.)

  • Kenny

    If you have a CD burner, you can still enjoy digital music without an ipod, zune or other mp3 player. If you use Zune as your digital music store, it will burn them for you, and so will Rhapsody. I bought music digitally and made my cd’s long before I finally bought my Zune.
    I don’t like itunes, and I avoid it. There are other digital store online that are more user friendly.

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