WORD RECORDS

HISTORY

Word Records had two distribution agreements with A&M Records. The first ran from early 1985 until 1990. The agreement was reworked in 1987 and was in effect through 1992.

Bob Darden reported in Billboard on October 11, 1986, "Word has enlarged its share of the marketplace in the last year. Depending on who you talk to, Word has anywhere from 49% to 65% of the total Christian music market. An any given time, 10, 11, 12, 13 of the top 15 albums on the Billboard contemporary charts are from Word or Word-distributed labels."

From Word's inception, it had a number of label divisions including Canaan Records, Exit Records, Myrrh and Myrrh/LA Records and Rejoice Records. Word established the What? Records label around 1985. What? was designed to capture new musical trends--youth-oriented contemporary market. A&M showed interest in two of the artists on that label, Tonio K. and Dave Perkins. Albums by both were released under the old Horizon Records SP 700 series.

Word sold 80-85% of its products in Christian bookstores, not retail record stores. About 80% of Word's sales were cassettes in the mid-1980s.

With the distribution agreement with A&M, Word began to achieve crossover success in the secular market through Amy Grant's Unguarded album which went was certified gold in 45 days and went on to platinum status. The album received airplay on pop radio and Christian stations. When a gospel artist is marketed to a gospel audience, print media works better. With a secular audience, the overtly religious element is downplayed in order to get television and promotional appearances.

A&M's succeeded with Word Records where other major secular labels failed in their distribution of gospel and Christian labels. A&M developed separate marketing strategies for the contemporary, inspirational and black gospel products within the Word line.

In 1986, Word re-signed its distribution deal with Reunion Records to last until 1990. Word also had arrangements with DaySpring Records, Home Sweet Home Records, I Am Records, Live Oak Records, and Maranatha! Records.

BILLBOARD NUMBER ONE AWARDS 1986

CATEGORYARTISTTITLE
Top Inspirational Album 1. Amy Grant
3. Sandi Patti
5. Amy Grant
6. Carman
7. Russ Taff
8. Amy Grant
23. Maranatha
24 .Maranatha Kids
Unguarded
Morning Like This
Age to Age
The Champion
Medals
Straight Ahead
Praise 8
Kids Praise 5
Top Inspirational Artist 1. Sandi Patti (1)
2. Amy Grant (5)
4. Carman (2)
Michael W. Smith (3)
6. Russ Taff (1)
Top Inspriational Label 1. Word (14)
3. Myrrh (14)
6. Reunion (3)
9. Maranatha (2)
Top Spiritual Label 3. Word (7)
9. Rejoice (2)
Top Spiritual Album 7. Shirley Caesar
9. Rev. Milton Brunson &
the Thompson Community Choir
19. Al Green
24. Rance Allen Group
Celebration
There Is Hope

He Is the Light
I Give Myself to You
Top Spiritual Artists 6. Shirley Caesar (2)
7. Rev. Milton Brunson &
the Thompson Community Choir (2)

In 1987, Word began exploring CDs but had not made much progress with that format.

By the time Word dissolved its association with A&M Records in 1992, it had five gold certifications from the RIAA: four to artist Sandi Patti and one for Evie. (Amy Grant's certifications are listed under A&M Records history although a number of those releases were due to the Word/A&M pact.)

SOURCES:
Billboard. Word Records: Breaking Down Barriers Still Top Priority in Campaign to Capture New Musical Trends. Bob Darden. October 11, 1986.

WORD RECORDS ARTIST ROSTER

A - F G - N O - Z
Abundant Life
Rance Allen Group
Allies
Steve Archer
Wendy Bagwell & Sunliters
Philip Bailey
Barrett Sisters
Barrett Sisters & Glen Campbell
Helen Baylor
Paul Beasley
Bob Bennett
Kim Boyce
Shirley Caesar
Calvin Bridges
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
Milton Brunson
Milton Brunson & Thompson
    Community Singers
Glen Campbell
Carman
Johnny Cash
Choir
Chris Christian
Clark Sisters
CLC Youth Choir
Commissioned
Morgan Cryar
Rick Cua
Teri De Sario
Dion
Jessy Dixon
O'Landa Draper
Roby Duke
Bryan Duncan
Joni Eareckson
Eastman School of Music
Chris Eaton
Edification
Joe English
Ever Call Ready
Linda Evans
Evie
Farrell & Farrell
Becky Fender
First Call
Florida Boys
Tennessee Ernie Ford
Don Francisco
Rodney Friend
Gaither Vocal Band
Billy & Sarah Gaines
Bill Gaither Trio
Teri Gibbs
Gingerbrook Fare
Michael Gleason
Happy Goodman Family
Rusty Goodman
Tanya Goodman
Amy Grant
Al Green
Rosey Grier
Danniebelle Hall
Handel's Young
Dr. Charles Hayes
Mike Hayward
Benny Hester
Ethel Holloway
Dallas Holm
Dallas Holm & Praise
Ronn Huff
Imperials
Inspirations
Jackson Family
Peter & Hanneke Jacobs
Joy Circuit
Phil Keaggy
Kid's Praise
Kingdom
Joyce Landorf
Mylon Lefevre
Mylon LeFevre/Broken Heart
Lewis Family
Little Roy Lewis
Joe Ligon
Tammy Lindsay
Maranatha! Singers
Mastedon
Kenny Marks
Howard McCrary
Rod McGaha
David Meece
Mighty Clouds of Joy
Douglas Miller
Denise Alda Mitchell
Vernessa Mitchell
Dorothy Moore
Rich Mullins
Kelly Nelon
Kelly Nelon-Thompson
Rex Nelon
Nelons
Nicholas
Dorothy Norwood
Michael Omartian
Jamie Owens-Collins
Twila Paris
Sandi Patty
Leon Patillo
Charlie Peacock
Petra
Leslie Phillips
Wintley Phipps
Don Potter
Praise
Praise Strings
Cliff Richard
Deleon Richards
Arthur Scales
Steve Scott
2nd Chapter of Acts
Servant
Seventy Sevens
George Beverly Shea
Sheppard Johnson Holm
Janet Lynn Skinner
Richard Smallwood Singers
Lulu Roman Smith
Michael W. Smith
Paul Smith
Pops Staples
Diane Steinberg-Lewis
Randy Stonehill
Russ Taff
Talleys
Steve Taylor
B. J. Thomas
Keith Thomas
Tonio K.
Kathy Troccoli
Evylyn Turrentine-Agee
Undercover
Vector
Greg X. Volz
Albertina Walker
H. Walker/Love Fellowship
    Choir
Sheila Walsh
Matthew Ward
Wayne Watson
Walt Whitman & the Soul
    Children Choir of Chicago
White Heart
Whites
Thomas Whitfield
Roger Whittaker
Williams Brothers
Allan T. Wiggins
Daniel Winans
Daniel Winans & Second Half
World of Pentecost Choir
Word Records
X-Sinner

WORD RECORDS DIVISIONS

CANAAN RECORDS ARTIST ROSTER

A - H I - P Q - Z
Wendy Bagwell and the Sunliters
Florida Boys
Happy Goodman Family
Inspirations
Lefevres
Rex Nelon
Nelons


DAY SPRING RECORDS ARTIST ROSTER

A - H I - P Q - Z

Petra


EXIT RECORDS ARTIST ROSTER

A - H I - P Q - Z


Seventy-Sevens

HOME SWEET HOME RECORDS ARTIST ROSTER

A - H I - P Q - Z
Steve Archer
Mark Heard

B. J. Thomas
White Heart

I AM RECORDS ARTIST ROSTER

A - H I - P Q - Z

Rod McGaha Walt Whitman

LIVE OAK RECORDS ARTIST ROSTER

A - H I - P Q - Z
Janie Owens Collins
2nd Chapter of Acts

MARANATHA RECORDS ARTIST ROSTER

A - H I - P Q - Z

Peter & Hanneke Jacobs

MYRRH RECORDS ARTIST ROSTER

A - H I - P Q - Z
Steve Archer
Dion
Joe English
Benny Hester
Tanya Goodman
Amy Grant
Phil Keaggy
Joe Ligon
David Meece
Petra
Leslie Phillips
Cliff Richard
2nd Chapter of Acts
Seventy-Sevens
Randy Stonehill
Steve Taylor
B. J. Thomas

REJOICE RECORDS ARTIST ROSTER

A - H I - P Q - Z
Clark Sisters


REUNION RECORDS ARTIST ROSTER

A - H I - P Q - Z


Michael W. Smith

WHAT? RECORDS ARTIST ROSTER

A - H I - P Q - Z


Tonio K.

WORD RECORDS EMPLOYEES

A - F G - N O - Z
Dean Arvidson
Debbie Atkins
Loren Balman
John Barker
James Bullard
James Chaffey
Jack Clark
Rob Deam
Mike Dworak
Dorothy Gerlich
Jim Gibson
Ken Harding
Dan Johnson
Lynn Keesecker
Marie Lehman
Roland Lundy
John Mays
Jeff Moseley
Stan Moser
Lynn Nichols
Jerry Park
Karen Renfro
Debra Rhodes
Terri Short
Rob Stewart
Andrew Tempest
Tom Willett (What? Records)
Ken Wolgemuth

MYRRH RECORDS EMPLOYEES

A - F G - N O - Z
Dawn Bianchi
Melissa Helm
Lorri Seipensticker
Tom Willett

WORD RECORDS GALLERY

WORD RECORDS FORMATS AND PRICES

YEAR SERIES ALBUM CASSETTE CD
1988 Word 8100
What? 0700
$8.98
$8.98
$8.98
$8.98
No set price
No set price
1989 Word 8100
Word Videos 61700
What? 0700
$8.98
$19.98 VHS
$8.98
$8.98
NA
$8.98
No set price
NA
No set price

SOURCES:
A&M Records retail catalogs.

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