Every once in a while, I like to Blog about what's happening in my life on a day to day basis; this is one of those times. As most of you probably know, I quit my job with T&N back in early January. Some of you who are close to me know I've been working towards fulfilling a vision God's given me. In stead of explaining it in detail, I wanted to share an interview I did with Relevant Magazine. Click on the link above to access the interview on Relevantmagazine.com. I've included the questions that didn't make it in the feature (due to space restrictions), below.
My family and I (along with several friends and a bunch of amazing artists)are stepping out in faith (as missionaries) that God is going to provide for our every need in this new music endeavor and that He is going to take it where He wants. From an economic perspective, this is the worst possible time to step out and launch a new "Missionary Record Label", but from a spiritual one, God's timing is always perfect.
If you feel led, please consider supporting us both prayerfully, and if you can, financially (yes, gifts are tax-deductible). There is a simple form to the right of this post where you can give us a one time or a recurring gift. Beggars can't be choosers, but if the Lord is leading you to help us, please consider giving on a monthly basis.
Thank you and may God do as He sees fit through each of us!
Click here to view the temporary C&L! site.
"The Missionary Record Label"
by Seth "tower" Hurd
1. Briefly, explain your business model of free/pay what you want.
The model could probably best be summarized in terms of a missionary. My parents were missionaries and I've always had a heart for missions, so that's where part of the idea came from. If someone decides to become a missionary and relocate to a remote tribe in Africa, there are a few steps to take in that process. The first is obviously praying that God confirms your calling. Secondly, you approach a missions organization that aligns with your vision or denomination and can help with the process of getting you where God is leading you. Thirdly, having a financial budget and determining how much it will cost after liquidating all those things you won't be needing (such as a home mortgage, DVD's, cars, etc.). Once you have determined how much it will cost per year to live overseas , you would begin praying that the Lord brings in the money to get you there and keep you there. Likely you would start sitting down with friends, families and your local church to ensure you have their prayerful and financial support.
Come&Live! is applying this missional approach (which has been tried and tested for decades over) to the world of music and the arts.
In simple terms, we will operate more like a Missions Organization that helps fund and support artists to do what they're called to do. They will still be raising support from friends, family and churches but the developed model is to serve them as somewhat of an all-inclusive Record label, all the while never taking a dime of their money. Here's what's crazy, the model would become self-sufficient with requiring less than 5,000 individuals giving an average of 20 dollars per month. All of the funds that we receive go to three different sources. First, money goes to the artist to help cover their recording/touring/misc. costs, the second goes to Come&Live! to cover operations mostly including marketing, distribution, publicity. Thirdly, every ounce of our profit is given back to charities that we partner with along with just basic needs for people we feel God leads us towards.
Certainly not conventional but not exactly complicated either.
2. You plan on giving 100% of the profits of your company away. Tell me about the organizations you hope to support. Do you plan on making music about these topics?
Absolutely. We are allowing each of our artists to choose a partner charity that they really feel led to be working with. We haven't formalized partnerships considering we barely even have a website up yet but some of those we are looking at include Healing Waters, Project Ak-47, Preemptive Love Coalition, Compassion, Mocha Club, etc. We are looking to form partnerships with these charities where we are able to offer exposure of their great efforts to a youth audience and in return they expose what we do to their own audience. Considering our music will always be available free of charge digitally, it's much easier to expose our music to the customers of these charities.
3. Explain the spiritual motives behind this.
God showed us the greatest example of generosity the world has ever seen, so why not model a company after the basic principle of generosity? The overarching ideal that, as followers of Christ, sharing is not a suggestion, but a command. Generosity is a strong warrior against it’s four great adversaries; Selfishness, Greed, Pride and Profit. We believe that if there has ever been a time to live simply so as to give generously, that time is now. We seek the profit of others far ahead of ourselves, that's as basic but as challenging a Biblical principle as any. We believe that hearts will always follow treasure and therefore our treasure should be established in eternal, not earthly, profits and pursuits. “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, “You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor” – Deuteronomy 15:11 In all humility, our only motive behind this is spiritual. Our prayer is that God would use this example of generosity to revive an entire generation towards generosity.
4. Do you believe that all music will follow this model in the next five years?
Wow. I highly doubt it. It's very hard for me to imagine that most companies would consider giving up their profits for the needy and giving up the existing model for something like this. I'd love to see this vision become the next model, but I don't think that's realistic. If anything, I would hope that this model challenges existing companies to consider at least giving a greater portion (or ANY) of their profits back to the needs of their neighbors. We don't live in an age where we can argue whether our neighbors live only next door to us. The internet reminds us daily that our neighbors live all over the world. And according to Jesus, the second greatest commandment (next to Loving the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength) was to love our neighbors as ourselves. If it was 2nd in line for Jesus, how can we not live generously towards others?
5. "Come&Live!" is going to provide "support and pastoral care" for artists. This is the first time a label has ever done this. Tell me what that looks like.
It starts by modeling humility and a servants heart to the artists. Hard to expect them to step out in faith to trust God if Come&Live! isn't doing the same. We follow-through by praying with and for the artists, holding them accountable, encouraging them, helping provide for basic needs without any idea of "recoupment". We'll also be looking to host annual or bi-annual retreats called "Come&Die!" where artists can come together to be fed and strengthened in their faith. We are also challenging them to ensure they have a solid local church that helps provide accountability and added support. The global church is called to work together so we hope to start seeing local bodies (or members of) coming out to shows, praying with our bands, taking them out to eat, bringing them an encouraging book, etc.
6. What are some specific examples of how you have seen God provide as you have stepped out into this calling?
First and foremost has been the faith He has placed within me to believe that He will accomplish the impossible. I'm not a great businessman, I'm not a gifted entrepreneur, but I believe in a God who can do anything He pleases and He loves to receive the glory for His work. Without a doubt Jesus has given me a peace that He is with me every step of the way. I feel that I have so much more to gain if this works than what I have to lose. At the most, my losses will include a career in the music business, a home, my pride, and material possessions. I would drop those a hundred times over if God would only put me to work in helping others live more committed to Him. God has brought me six awesome people to help carry the load, he's also brought me incredible bands, and wonderfully encouraging friends and family.
7. Tell me about the "eco-friendly" portion of your vision (you said on the phone "eco friendly and beautifully packaged").
We plan to only use recycled cardboard and no plastic. I personally have always loved creative packaging and don't feel like there's any room for us, as Christians, to further waste material that we don't have to. We're pretty good at being wasteful, as it is.