Gotee Records

I wanted to do a label that focused on a generation. – Toby McKeehan

By: Christina Adams, Jennifer Chunn, Becky King, and Justin Nations

Gotee – Label History
Founded as a record label in 1994 by Toby McKeehan, Joey Elwood, and Todd Collins, Gotee Records has gone on to become one of the hottest, fastest growing, contemporary Christian labels in the music industry.

Gotee might have never existed had it not been for coincidence and perfect timing. It was in 1992 that ex-dcTalk member, Toby McKeehan (typically referred to as tobyMac), and his partners, Todd Collins and Joey Elwood, were in the business of record production. The three wanted to record the R&B, Christian group Out Of Eden’s debut record, Lovin’ The Day, but were unable to find a label willing to sign the all-sister act. [1] [2]

We all collectively said, ‘Let’s just give this a shot.’ At the risk of sounding unprofessional, it was a very naïve entry into the business. We basically learned every day, on the job, because we had no training for what we were doing, other than we loved music and we produced music. That was the entry point. Three naïve guys, a willing band, and some really good songs. [3]

It was in 1994 that Gotee officially became a record label.

Gotee Artists – Past and Present
Situated in Franklin, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville, Gotee Records is, and has been, home to some of Christian music’s finest:

Jennifer Knapp
· Performing since 1994 [4]
· Most known for her 1994 debut record, Kansas
· Kansas is a RIAA-certified Gold record
· Nominated for two Grammy awards for her albums Lay It Down and The Way I Am [5]

· Suggested Reading: Jennifer Knapp – Christianity Today

Sarah Kelly
· Signed with Gotee stating : “They didn’t want to change me at all.”
· Kelly’s 2004 album, Take Me Away became the highest grossing new artist debut in Gotee’s short, ten year history
· In 2005, she was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Rock Gospel Album” category alongside Gotee’s co-founder, Toby McKeehan. [6]
· Suggested Reading: Sarah Kelly – Christianity Today

Relient K
· Group’s album All Work and No Play caught attention of Toby McKeehan, and he later signed the band
· Relient K’s last two albums, Mmhmm and Five Score and Seven Years Ago have been distributed by Capitol Records, and caused the group a tremendous amount of mainstream success. [7]
· Suggested Reading: Relient K – Christianity Today

More Gotee Artists:
Family Force 5
SonicFlood
House of Heroes
Stephanie Smith
Ayiesha Woods
Plus many others!

For more information on Gotee’s artists, check its roster here!

There, you will find a listing of Gotee artists, both currently on the roster as well as that who have parted ways with the label, as well as links to their respective MySpaces and websites, and free downloads!

Gotee Records – Blazing Trails
Since 1994, Gotee has always been looking for new ways to connect with the fans of their artists. Gotee offers free digital downloads to better display their ever-ranging roster to those interested.

The label has also been forced to keep abreast of the ever-changing climate of the music industry. With the digitization of music and the easy accessibility of such music, Gotee has changed its efforts in reaching this new audience.

In order to help achieve the desired effect, Gotee has employed the following:

· As a new artist signed with Gotee, your music will only be made available by digital download and at any live performance events you might have. There will be no physical distribution for you. However, if you are a developed artist with an outstanding reputation for having sold records, who has developed a buzz amongst fans, and gotten radio exposure, the cost of physical distribution is, essentially, much less than with new, undeveloped artists. [8] Essentially, the risk of physical distributing hard copies of a developed artist’s music is much less than the actual cost of doing so.

· Gotee (much like Trent Reznor did last year with Nine Inch Nails and like Josh Freese did recently) offers bundled packaging and options. For example, I Am Terrified was offering their EP for $7.00, an exclusive T-Shirt of theirs for $15.00, or you could purchase both for just $20.00. [9]

· Additionally, Gotee, like many other labels, chooses to offer multiple formatting and multiple ways to access its artists’ music. For example, House of Heroes has offered three of their songs free at freeHoH.com as well as a free, three-song sampler at Amazon.com. The group also had their 15-song album available at iTunes for $9.99, or you could pick up the physical copy at their show. [10]

· YouTube is also a very important outlet Gotee chooses to use. Gotee offers all of its current artists’ music videos on its official website here. This makes finding artist’s videos simple, as they can be found in a central location. By heavily employing the use of YouTube, Gotee insures itself that its videos are reaching the target audience – the new audience. Because music videos are getting less and less play on television, YouTube has fast become the go-to spot for watching one’s favorite music videos.

House of Heroes’ “In The Valley Of The Dying Sun”

Recent Events For Gotee

Though Gotee Records began as a coincidence by three gentlemen who had no idea as to how a record company should be run, and though Gotee was able to do all of the things a major label could do albeit on an infinitely smaller scale, it functioned extremely well as an independent company during its early days. But, after its formation, EMI would grab up Gotee and place it under its umbrella making the label a part of EMI’s Christian Music Group. [11]

Fortunately for Gotee, in March of 2008, the label bought back the minority share EMI held in it, transforming it back into what it had started out as many years ago – an independent record company. [12] This change-over is an event co-founder Joey Elwood looks fondly on. He states:

We felt like we had an opportunity to go back to where we began. We felt like we kinda lost our way. […] But it’s kinda fun, taking all the lessons you learned in 14 years, and trying to re-apply them to this season that the record business is in.

[13]

Gotee continues to just that – grow and adapt. Fifteen years in the music business and the label is still doing well, still staying true to itself, and still striving to bring out the best in its artists.

References:
[1] About Gotee
[2] Out Of Eden
[3]About Gotee
[4] Jennifer Knapp Discography
[5]Jennifer Knapp – Wikipedia
[6] Price, Deborah Evans. “Higher Ground: Kelly ‘Honored’ by Grammy Nomination.” Billboard Magazine Online. 5 Feb. 2005. Accessed: 15 Mar. 2009 [7] Relient K – Wikipedia
[8] What’s In A Label? – Gotee Records
[9] Gotee Records’ MySpace
[10] House Of Heroes’ MySpace
[11] What’s In A Label? – Gotee Records
[12] Gotee Records Now Fully Independent Company
[13] About Gotee

*All pictures attributable to Yahoo! Images Search
** “Whole Again,” “Living Hallelujah,” and “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been” attributable to Seeqpod.

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