Count The Costs

So, you want to be a CCM artist? Awesome! There is nothing more gratifying than creating and performing music and seeing people’s lives changed. I think it’s great to aspire to inspire, but you better get ready to perspire and keep the fire! Ask anyone who has a music ministry and they will tell you it is hard work, and that 99% of the time you are working to create material and secure engagements. 1% of the time, you are on stage doing that thing you love to do!

Since 1997, I have worked with literally thousands of emerging artists in their music mission, founding and operating Most of the artists I come in contact with are hobbyists, who enjoy getting out there every so often to crank up the band, or share a song. Nothing wrong with that! Some are more serious artists who are doing it full time. I have the utmost respect for artists who are full timers, because it is incredibly hard to get to that point and sustain a full time music ministry, especially these days!

It has never been more difficult to make it happen in a Christian music ministry. In the old days, the cost of doing business, er…I mean ministry was far less expensive, with the exception of creating quality music. These days, a savvy musician with chops and technical skills can produce great sounding music with a MacBook pro and Logic. I know, because that is what I use in my studio! On the flip side, gas just hit $4 bucks a gallon (I wonder where it will be when you read this article?) and diesel is at $5. My good friends from the indie band “Bread of Stone” have a wonderful Prevost tour bus that has a 200 gallon tank and gets 7 miles per gallon. Do the math! These guys are out there doing it regardless of the costs, and  the Lord continues to provide! Now that is work and faith my friends!

I asked members of Indieheaven ( if the cost of doing their music mission has impacted them and how they were overcoming this obstacle. 

“We did lose a gig because of gas prices. They knew we were coming from two hours away, but the second I asked for gas reimbursement, they couldn’t get rid of us fast enough!  I was even willing to negotiate a little, but their attitude was like, “Ok, we can’t accommodate you, thanks for your interest–bye!”  LOL.  Guess we’ll just stick closer to home for a while.”

“Yes, the guys in my band have started asking from more money to cover gas expenses….ouch. That means that I am having to charge more at the venue or pray harder that God will provide more….as He always has and as He always will.”

 “It impacts the number of musicians and the scope of what I’ll do to some degree, but by and large I just realize that the ministry will take in a little less cash from the gigs and the honorarium will basically go towards paying the other players who support me.  All CD sales go to the ministry and a percentage of the honorarium.  If folks can’t go, I don’t necessarily say no, I go acoustic and change up the setlist, but not the point.  The other thing I do is try to get a full weekend booked.  That way one event pays for the expenses, the other helps support the ministry.”

You can see these artists have a balanced outlook on the costs of accomplishing their mission and have a plan in place to deal with it. And that is good! It is important to count the costs before striking out on a mission. Starting out in a music mission these days should not be taken lightly.  Count the costs my friends. It is far less expensive to do your ministry local, instead of traveling far distances. It’s also the way an emerging artist can create a local base of fans and supporters. I see too many artists who spend too much time on the internet trying to influence people on the other side of the world, and neglect their own communities. Act local, think global. I am a big proponent of impacting people who are in your immediate sphere of influence and let them talk about you to others, instead of you spending time on the www tooting your own horn to people called “friends.” This is a subject for another article!

Do yourself a favor, make a list of what you think it will cost you to accomplish your music mission, and then multiply it by 10 and that will be the real cost. It’s not for the faint of wallet. For those who are smart and seek council from others who have been there and done that, they will  learn  to maximize their investment and see the most return. For those who fail to plan, their plan will probably fail. Be smart, be wise, and most of all, be realistic about what you can invest and keep your expectations in line. It will help you to not be discouraged when things don’t happen as fast or the way you thought they would happen.

God provides for our needs if we are earnestly seeking Him and doing His will. Be sure to take the time to find out what His will is for your life. It is the most important investment you can make, because if you are pursuing a music ministry without the Lord’s blessing and endorsement, there will be a high cost to pay. Make sure you are not going after something that is based on blind ambition and vain conceit. I see this out there every now and then, and it breaks my heart because I know there will struggles, trials, disillusionment, disappointment, bitterness, and eventually burn out coming down the road. 

Remember, seek God first and keep Him first in your music mission. Make service the keystone of your ministry. Work hard at it and pray hard for it, and do not settle for mediocrity. In everything you do, do it with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your ability. 

Until next time, may your field of dreams be lined with work down first and faith down third. 

Keith Mohr
Keith is president of, a resource for independent Christian musicians, bands, worship leaders, songwriters and more!

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Are you Fishing?

Ive been thinking about this lately.. I have been working with indies since 1997.. and I see a lot of the things they do to try and “make it..”

I had this analogy come to me, and wanted to share it.
It has to do with fishing.

Artists tend to bait their hook with their music or their content and cast it out as far as they can throw their line into the deep water. They are hoping to catch a whale. The big fish.. the one fish that will feed them for life! The elusive humpback record deal, or whatever is the flavor of the moment that represents progress in their music and career.

So, they throw their line out 1, 2, 3, 4 X, or for the stubborn ones, many more times.. they reel the line in and nothing… nada, zippo, no whale.. so they put down their rods and stop fishing. They are done fishing, and go onto hunting, or something else..

Meanwhile, if they would look down at their feet, there are thousands of smaller fish, minnows mind ya.. all swimming around within arms reach.. and next to them is a net. But the net is not as easy to use as the rod and they can’t land the whales with a net. So, they let the net lay there, and the minnows swim off..

If they would only realize the minnows represent people, and the whales represent the music industry, and that minnows TASTE better than whales, they are sweeter, more tender..and they can feed you a good long time.. See, minnows are the way to go in this music industry climate..Gather the minnows, and in time, they will collective become much larger than the whale.

So, I encourage you to cast your net close, gather the minnows, and forget about the whales..

Make sense?
Keith Mohr

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If things aren’t happening…

I have some thoughts on why things may not happening the way you may have hoped they would. I see this in my own life. Take a good close look at your life and mission and see if anything resonates with you.

Reason #1- There is sin in your camp.
God will not bless activities or persons who have unresolved sin and unrepentant hearts. if you are blatantly sinning, and I mean sin of any type, not just the biggies, do not expect the Lord to blow open the doors for you. It goes against His character.

Solution #1- Get right with God.
Time to get on your knees and confess your sins to the One who already knows you are a sinner. Once you confess your sins, ask for forgiveness, and then STOP the activity. Just say no to sin, resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Reason #2- Your motives are not pure
God will not bless activities or persons who are conducting an activity purely for selfish motives and personal gain. You cannot psyche out God, no matter how hard you try. He knows our hearts, our thoughts and our motives.

Solution #2- Die to Self
Get on your knees once again and ask God to forgive you of your selfish desires and motives. Confess your sins, ask for forgiveness and then STOP the activity. Die to self each day, seek to serve others without selfish motives and make certain your activities provide blessings for others.

Reason #3- Your content is not good
This is where it gets more subjective, but the reason why many do not see things happen the way they hoped is because they simply are not creating content of excellence. Good is subjective, but most can tell the difference between bad, good and great.

Solution #3- Get better!
Strive for excellence in all you do, and when you are satisfied with the results, that is the time to continue striving. Do not settle for mediocrity. Seek constant and never ending improvement. Always seek to learn, continue to do, and above all else, ask God to provide you opportunities for improvement. Stretch yourself creatively. Study those who are successful and pattern yourself after them. Read bios of people who have changed history. Study companies who went from good to great. Learn about artists who are seeing success and see how they made it happen.

I hope this is encouraging to you. Let’s continue to improve and be more effective ambassadors for Christ!

keep up the excellent faith-work!
Keith Mohr

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Why most indies don’t sell much music online

Here’s a thought I have shared before.. and it is a tough subject. The majority of indies do not sell that much music online. I think I know why..

What if what you are selling isn’t all that good??? (in a commercial sense) What are you telling the world by sticking your music on websites to get “exposed?” Does placing inferior content online help your music mission/career?

I see this quite often in the independent scene, artists who should not be selling their music because they are not ready, yet make the product anyway, stick it on a bunch of sites, then get no sales or maybe a few sales to people whom they push to purchase. We see this here on Indieheaven often. Only a few % of our members sell more than a few bucks worth of music each month. And, this has nothing to do with the popularity of this website, or others like i-tunes, Amazon and the rest.

Creating a commercial product requires a product that can compete in the marketplace. This is why the majority of indie artists do not sell online. The casual surfer either does not like the music enough to purchase it, or they do not see evidence of professionalism. They wont buy mediocre content, period.

Think of it as if you were going to open your own bakery.. You wouldn’t expect people to come to your bakery and purchase cakes you made in an easy bake oven, right? But for some reason, artists think people will buy their half baked songs.

ummmm… that is a bit irrational isn’t it?

Will God make them buy your music?
No..and do not think He will. God isn’t in the business of selling your music.

What makes people buy your music is exceptional quality, and the songs filling a need the listener has. If you can accomplish this, you have a better chance of selling your music online.

Remember, placing your content on a myriad of sites doesn’t do much good, unless what you have to offer is of quality. How do you know if what you are producing is of quality?

Thats a subject for a different post.

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Get Real

For most of you who are reading this post, you probably don’t know me all that well. You may think being the founder and president of Indieheaven, I sit in a overstuffed fine leather chair in a huge office with mahogany furniture at our Indieheaven headquarters on Music Row in Nashville, meeting with label and publishing execs, securing licensing deals for all of our members for #1 hit shows and movies, talking to festivals about having an Indieheaven stage, getting our Indieheaven Prevost tour bus wrapped with our logo…

Umm.. well.. nope. The reality is this.. I’m sitting in a semi-hard chair in my home office in Spring Hill, TN at a press board desk with 2 lava lamps, a semi-warm cup of coffee, where I have spent the last hour weeding out all the spam from my inboxes, looking at the latest news, friend feeds and weather forecast. I went to Kroger this morning to get bananas and coconut milk for breakfast. I made oatmeal for myself and my wife. I played a few games of Scramble With Friends.

And I am fine with this.

main4What I’ve learned over the past 28 years is God giveth, and He taketh away. I’ve lived in Music City,TN since 2003. Before that, I leased a killer recording studio in central PA and produced tons of music. I had a great place to bring bands in and record them, which I did often. The building was about 8000 Sq. Ft. It had a live end, dead end cutting room, all maple wood. The control room was acoustically tuned and perfect for mixing.

keith3Do I miss it? Sure I do..I would be lying if I said I didn’t. I lived in the recording studio for about 7 years. I loved having artists and songwriters come in to have me polish their songs and make them sound great. Now, I have a MacBook pro with software, no cutting room to speak of, no fancy equipment or huge mixing console to twiddle knobs on.. and the occasional song I produce through my Water to Wine Productions.

And I am fine with this.

What I have also learned since following after Christ in 1986 is how God works in my life and whatever happens, the key for me as a Christ follower is to be fine with what He is doing in my life. Even the sucky parts. To be honest, I learn way more from sucking and screwing up than I do when things are going my way. The most important thing I have learned is that in order to learn and grow, I must be REAL. Reality can and does set me free. It sets US free.

It is super important to be real about where we are at in our life, deal with our past, trust the Lord for our future and be fine with this.

So this day, I encourage me and you to Get REAL and be FINE.
Keith Mohr

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I Need A Promotion

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “It’s easy to produce music these days, but hard to promote it.” Well, if you haven’t heard that saying, now you’ve read it. And it’s true. It’s never been easier to create a song, produce it on your computer, and release it to the world. I have 2 words for ya.. “Who cares?” And while I’m thinking about it, I have 2 more words..”So What?”.. I know, I’m harsh.. but let’s look at reality here, because reality will set ya free.

5149642217_6c5347f956_zImagine if you will, that you as the songwriter/artist represent a single drop of water flowing over Niagra Falls, and the rest of the water represents all the other songwriters and artists in the universe. Each drop of water flowing together creates a volume of H2O that can fill a stadium in less than sixty seconds and crush even the hardest of rock.  That is what the internet represents to the musically creative in 2014. It’s a cacophony of creativity that mostly represents the mediocrity of the masses. Ouch!

So, what’s a drop of water supposed to do in order to stand out? Go with the flow and enjoy the ride?? This doesn’t have much to do with promotion, but it’s a good analogy when it comes to the amount of music being created these days. There is an over abundance of people who used to just sing their songs in their shower, or jam in their basement or garage. Now, everyone thinks they can become the next Justin Bieber or Ariana Grande cause their momma said little Johnny or Janie should be a pop star.

amfAR Gala - 67th Cannes Film FestivalBut how did Justin and Ariana go from kids singing to a hairbrush, to the world’s stage? It’s pretty easy to see how they did it, and their success left clues. Now, I know I am talking about worldly artists here, and most likely, those who read this are “Christian” artists or songwriters. But there are similarities when it comes to seeing an increase in influence. And isn’t that why ALL creatives have profiles on the www? C’mon.. admit it.. Everyone who is online desires to influence everyone else and get rich and famous. (insert sarcasm meter pegged to 100 here)

For those of you who are not familiar with how music artists are discovered this days, it happens usually like so… Kid shoots video with their iPhone, puts it online, and if they are superhuman great, or unbelievably hideous, people watch and share it with their friends. Or, they get on a show like “The Voice,” “American Idol,” or “Rising Star,” and they get seen by the masses and industry and are on their way to superstardom.

One thing these 2 scenarios have in common is the word “EXPOSURE.” Now I’m not referring to the kind of exposure where your toes freeze solid when you were a kid out sled riding in your Jack Purcell’s. I mean this kind of exposure… getting your mojo in front of people and showing them what you got.

Discovery these days is a 3 way street. Artists first need to discover who they are and what value they bring to people. Then the artist needs to define who their target audience is. Ages 2 to 92 is too wide of a range to aim your arrow. A 20 year span is a reasonable range to target. Watch commercials, and see how the big brands target their products to a certain age, income, and culture.

After determining your demographic, then you need to draw back and let your creative arrow fly…Right? Well, not quite so fast.. You better have a quality arrow to shoot. Crooked, or cheap arrows might fly through the air, but they sure as hades aren’t going to hit the target.

In the mainstream world, it’s quite easy.. You either suck or you don’t. But in the Christian world, there’s all this “grey area,” where no one actually sucks.. they are “challenged,” or “undeveloped.” You ever eat an “undeveloped” cake? Doesn’t quite go down so easy, does it? And “challenged”? C’mon.. call a spade a spade here..

Microwave-ovenThere are lots of indie artists and songwriters who are signed to “Microwave Records.” What is that you ask? It’s a label for those who think the first song they ever wrote or the first draft of other songs are ready for prime time consumption. The faster the song is written and produced, the more “God is in it.”  Huh? Really? If that was the case, Jesus should have gone to the cross when he was just a babe.  Nope.. it took Him 32 years to complete the mission. Why was that? (When you get the answer, let me know, I’m still pondering that one)

So, let’s talk about promotion..Did you know Jesus sent advance teams to locales He was planning on visiting to get a feel for what He was getting into? Yep.. He sure did. And, the advance team spread the word about Him coming and what He was doing in other towns.  So, if Jesus and the boys advanced their show, shouldn’t we do the same when it comes to ours?

What I see happening these days are creatives who are addicted to production and allergic to promotion. They love writing new songs, producing them in Garage Band, putting them on “This Nation” and “That Baby” and get all excited when they “trend” or are #44 in their cul de sac. Oftentimes, they sit back, stare at the screen refreshing it to see their latest ranking, and wait for God to magically make them famous. Well.. that usually doesn’t happen.

We’ve been taught (and imho, erroneously) that God handles the promotion for Christians, since He is on our side (only) and wants to give us the desire of our heart (there are 2 ways to take that, btw). “Name it and claim it” oftentimes takes precedence over “make it and promote it.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne thing is for sure, if we sit back and wait for God to do our work, we will be nothing but a waiter. I hear the local eatery is hiring:) We get confused by the word, “wait.”  Those who “wait” on the Lord.. sure it’s in the Bible.. but again, imho (and I’m full of imho) the word “wait” in that context means “to serve,” much like a waiter serves food and drink.  So, let’s replace “wait” with “serve” and read that passage again.  Now it’s starting to make sense.

premier-sled-kiteSo, back to promotion..a wise woman I know tells creatives, “If you don’t tell them you are out there, how will they know you are out there?” And that is so true. Promotion is like flying a kite. You could have in your hands the world’s best made kite, but if you just sit there and look at it, it will never fly. You have to get in motion, get that kite up in the air and then pray like crazy that the prevailing wind will pick up and make it soar!

Here is a great way to tell them “I’m Out There!”

Check it out and let people know!

Feel free to comment below, I’d love to know your thoughts!

Keith Mohr

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Announcing Indieheaven PLUS!

Indieheaven is excited to announce a new membership type to Indieheaven. It is called “Indieheaven PLUS” (IH+).

Indieheaven PLUS offers ALL of the benefits of Indieheaven Touring Pro membership, PLUS, a 1 hour monthly management consultation (via phone or SKYPE) with IH VP Sue Ross-Mohr.

Also, included is 1 press release sent out to over 75,000 people on the Indieheaven email list! This is a great way to share about new music, or a tour, or just to introduce yourself!

Not a member yet? For more information, <==LEARN MORE HERE==>

Current Indieheaven members, <==LEARN MORE HERE==>

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Over the past 18 years, we have come in contact with individuals who had found themselves at a stand still while pursuing their vision. Things just weren’t working. They were at a crossroad, not knowing how they got there or what to do next.

While assisting them in exposing the holes, two things occurred to us.

1. Most were working feverishly, but did not have a focused plan in place.

2. It was tough to define the who, what, where, when, why’s and hows of themselves, their business and their core audience/consumer.

Thus, The Discovery Process was born. A program that was devised to replace the questions with answers and guide the individual on a laser-focused path.

Unique consulting, information, and insight that fit inside your box, but outside the box of the rest of the world! It’s money-back-guaranteed to succeed!!

To learn more about The Discovery Process and how it can help you in your music mission, your business, church or new endeavor, send a text to 615-881-0960 or email for a free-10 minute consult evaluation.

Working with Sue Mohr is one of the best if not the best choices I have made for my ministry and career. If you are considering working with Sue be assured that she is the real deal, if you follow the plan you lay out with her, you will be able to create a thriving ministry! ~ Abbie Stands

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Special Announcement from: Christian Artists/Continental Singers/Cam Floria

Indieheaven is excited to help one of the original champions of independent artists, Cam Floria get the word out about his new initiative to launch new Christian artists globally! Plus, Cam is excited to announce the return of his popular conference in Estes Park, CO! Read all about it here!

Greetings to all Indie Artists from Cam Floria and the Continentals Global Foundation.

This letter is coming to you for two reasons; the first is that you are among the many independent artists around the world, making an impact with your talent, and secondly, we want to introduce an opportunity to you that could possibly change your world, as you know it, forever!

If you have ever been a Continental Singer, we would like to know. We have had over 65,000 talented young people, just like you, go through this program. I have to believe that some of you have been on a Continental tour sometime in your past… or maybe you wanted to go and never had the right opportunity!

If you are not familiar with The Continentals, it began in 1967 and continued for 45 years. There are still fourteen active international offices around the world sending out Continental tours to reach people in their own countries with the message of Christ through music.

In addition, the Christian Artists’ Seminar in the Rockies began in 1975 and after 25 successful years, was passed on to GMA in Nashville.

Christian Artists, also a “cause” sponsor of the Continentals Global Foundation, is bringing that seminar back to Estes Park Colorado just in time for the 40th anniversary, August 5-8, 2015. And you are invited! Go to Christian Artists Events for all the information.

The Continentals Global Foundation is raising funds to support the many International Continental Ministries that are still touring out there. Though the church in the U.S. has changed directions, churches in Romania, Hungary and Mexico, along with the many others, are reaching hundreds and thousands of people for Christ through the music ministry of The Continental Singers. In India, for example, in 10 days of music ministry, over 5,000 people accepted Christ as their Savior.

I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE YOU TOUR WITH ONE OF OUR INTERNATIONAL TEAMS! I am inviting some of you to partner with us as your “cause” to present at your performances. Holland, Romania, Hungary, Mexico or Costa Rica are just a few of the countries that are inviting you to join them.

We have a plan that will not only reach people for Christ in many foreign countries, but also give you a chance to go there yourself and be a part of one of these great, life changing tours. As you raise support for these International ministries, we will be supporting your ministry here in the U.S.

If this interests you at all, please contact me at and I will send you all the important information.

And, thank you in advance for taking a few minutes to respond about this opportunity and let me know about your current music ministry. Let’s see if this is a fit for you.

All the very best.
Cam Floria, Chairman, The Continentals Global Foundation

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Learn Artist Management from a 30 year veteran Artist Manager!


Mike Smith, president of Michael Smith and Associates, has announced the launch and registration period for the 2014 edition of his Artist Management Training Course. Hosted by the 30-year music industry veteran, Artist Management Training Course is designed for those seeking a career as an artist manager, as well as for artists that want a better understanding of the industry and proven tools to move themselves forward.

In this unique on-demand video teaching program, Smith has captured everything he knows about artist management. Smith and Kyle Johnson (Artist Manager with Michael Smith and Associates) sit and talk with a number of successful music industry veterans to get their advice and expertise on a wide variety of topics. Among the many music professionals featured in the series are artist manager Jim Chaffee, John Mays (Centricity Music), Charles Dorris (Charles Dorris & Associates), Jan Smith (Behind the Voice Agency), Brian Mayes (Nashville Publicity Group), Brian Smith (Turning Point Media), Beth Hood-Fromm (OMG Publicity), performance coach Tom Jackson, social media expert Brody Harper (Skorinc) and many more.

“There has never been anything done like this before,” explains Smith, who has successfully helped shape the careers of numerous artists in the Christian and Country music industries, including Restless Heart, Jaci Velasquez, Salvador, Chonda Pierce, Yancy, Denver & the Mile High Orchestra, Go Fish, comedian Brad Stine and more. “We have put together a massive on-line video training course for the Christian Music and entertainment industry. Using state of the art teaching technology and interviews with some of the most influential people in the business, this course is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of every aspect of artist development. This is for serious folks who want to learn how to succeed in the industry as Artist Managers. I believe that passing on my years of experience, and all of the secrets to my success, will provide a thorough education for those who feel called to this field.”

Part of the program also includes an opportunity for registrants to watch the process of a “real live” artist’s development and all of the steps necessary for their success in the entertainment business.

New for 2014, Michael Smith and Associates will also be hosting a conference on artist management in Franklin, Tennessee, on June 6th. More details will be announced soon.

Registration for the 2014 Artist Management Training Course is extremely limited. The enrollment period will close on April 1, 2014. For more information, visit HERE.

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