Saturday, August 23, 2014

a history of MH attempts at record labels 2009-2013 part 3: "Mars Hill Music is partnering with Tooth & Nail"

POSTED: 01/15/13
Mars Hill Music Partners with Tooth & Nail Records / BEC Recordings
Mars Hill Music has entered a partnership with Tooth & Nail Records / BEC Recordings to share the variety of worship bands coming from Mars Hill Church. Located in Seattle, WA, Mars Hill Church is home to 35 worship bands such as Citizens, Kings Kaleidoscope, Ghost Ship, and The Modern Post. On February 12, Tooth & Nail Records / BEC Recordings will release the Mars Hill Music Worship Sampler, a compilation of worship songs as an introduction to bands featured at the church. Click here or below to see an intro video on Mars Hill Music.
About Mars Hill Music: Mars Hill Music is made up of a variety of musicians and worship leaders who serve throughout the various Mars Hill locations. Since its humble beginnings in 1996, Mars Hill has been committed to engaging the surrounding culture in order to point people to Jesus. Each Mars Hill band strives to do this with a natural expression and outgrowth of what God is doing in their cities.

This partnership was official and had press materials to go with it.  Unlike the previous change in planes announced regarding Re:Sound, there was no indication there were any management or revenue issues.  The partnership was announced not just at BEC Recordings but also by Mark Driscoll who, less than a year later, had announced,  "Head’s up: we’re starting a record label, and we’re gunning to take over Christian radio."
But in any case, on January 15, 2013 Driscoll let the world know:

It’s official: Mars Hill Music has officially signed with Tooth & Nail Records!

We’re incredibly grateful for this partnership. Not only does T&N do amazing work, but many of the folks on staff are members, deacons, and band members at our church. This includes Deacon Jonathan Dunn, who oversees Mars Hill Music after working at T&N for years, and T&N founder/president Brandon Ebel, a personal friend and member of Mars Hill’s Ballard church.
Thank you to all who have supported, prayed for, and participated in this project—including the musicians (many volunteer) whose hard work has turned a big vision into reality. By God’s grace, we’re ready to get some top-notch, Jesus-centered, theologically sound, and artistically rich music into the hands of millions around the world. We have literally dozens of bands in the church and we've done a lot to prepare for this opportunity.

Citizens and Ghost Ship have their first full-length albums nearly done, and Deacon Dustin Kensrue is working on his first-ever worship album after years in the middle of the post-rock scene. Following that, expect to hear from Kings Kaleidoscope as well.

The first LP will be Citizens' self-titled release, due out March 12. Can’t wait? Here’s one of the new tracks, “Made Alive”:

So "We're starting a record label" turned into "We're partnering with Tooth & Nail".  Precisely why was never announced and so it isn't a certainty that what were so directly described as management and revenue problems with Re:Sound applied with Mars Hill Music. 

The history of Mars Hill attempts at starting music labels seems to be one of DIY initiative swiftly transforming into partnership.  Re:Sound sputtered about a year after it was announced over both management and revenue issues, by its own account.  Mars Hill Music got a bold announcement from Driscoll but inside of a year the nascent label was announced as a partnership with the already well-established Tooth & Nail/BEC Recordings. 

In a history that seems to parallel Mars Hill attempts at starting a Bible college or seminar (Capstone vanished and the Resurgence Training Center only had what looks like one graduating class and is no more, to be replaced by the forthcoming Mars Hill Schools) Mars Hill seems to have set out to change things and shake things up by creating their own music label but at length has entered into a partnership with an existing entity that has the infrastructural and financial resources and competencies to take care of the business side while Mars Hill people focus on the marketable content. 

There is another detail that is worth noting about the repeated attempts to start a record label, which is to revisit Mark Driscoll's "public apology" that was posted to The City and then leaked to the public.

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