Do Christian music labels matter? Do Christian publishers matter?  I get those questions a lot.

With the rise of the Internet, we as Christian authors, artists, causes, films and every other Christian on a mission, now have  the opportunity to bypass “the system” and go direct to the audience.  We’ve heard the  success stories of people who have “done it on their own.”  They achieved DIY.  They “did it themselves.”

The average “little guy or gal” called to their cause, ministry or art is excited about the potential to duplicate the DIY success of others. They should be!  But how do you DIY?

The truth is that all of the DIY success crowd did not do it alone.  Many of the current DIY folks are actually brands, bands, and so on who left the system after it had already created success for them.  Now they are DIY, and it is working for them.  Others truly have achieved success on their own.  Both have done it the same way.

So what does DIY mean when it works?  I’ll tell you right now that it is not about doing it on your own.

It is just about impossible to do things without a team.  While the rise of the Internet has shifted a ton of power to the artist or author manager away from the music label, book publisher or similar company,  successful DIY’ers will tell you it’s not easy. The path to success is in creating a team around you.

DIY means that you now have both the ability and the responsibility to be a decision-maker across all areas of your organization.  Don’t make the mistake where you think that do-it-yourself means you don’t have to depend on someone to tell you what to do.  You have to put together a team of professionals to perform the functions and tasks that are needed.  Saying you can do it without the label or publisher, may be true or may not be, but you will still need to do the tasks and work that the label or publisher would have done.

The Civil Wars are a great example. Separately, they’d been in “the system.” As the Civil Wars, they took on DIY, and won two Grammys while selling more than a few albums.  They did it on their own, but had an amazing team and spent a lot of money getting to the success level they achieved.

DIY only works if you assemble the right professional team to work for you. As a creative person, you have to have a manager.  Being both creative and managerial rarely works for anyone. When it does, it only works while your success level is relatively small.  As you grow, you will find quickly that you’ve run out of time and are choosing between being the talent or being the logistics person.

You and the manager you choose now have to hand pick your team to create success for you in production, marketing, appearances, distribution, your online presence, and so on.

How do I know this? Because for 11 years FrontGate Media has been part of the marketing team for many successful projects including DIY success stories like our clients and now friends at Project Inspired.  We’ve handled one or more marketing areas including online promotions, PR and social media. There is nothing better than achieving success with a great team of like-minded people, most recently that would include Project Inspired.

What you have gained in this new era is the ability/responsibility to choose the like-minded people you want to work with, rather than accepting the team you get with any one label, publisher or so on. That’s only great if you can take that responsibility on.  There are many creatives who would be better off on a label or publisher.  It becomes very important with DIY to pick the right team. Find like-minded people with a track record of success.