Billy Ray Hearn - Before Sparrow Records:
Myrrh Records was his brain-child, and he convinced Word’s leadership to let him start the contemporary label in 1972. Artists like Honeytree and Petra helped make the label popular during the "Jesus Movement." Before long, Myrrh made up a large portion of Word’s sales.
Sparrow Records is Born:
Sparrow Records began in February of 1976 in Canoga Park, California. Hearn signed Annie Herring from 2nd Chapter of Acts, John Michael Talbot, Keith Green, and Matthew Ward and the label began to grow.
In 1989, the warehouse was moved to Jacksonville, Illinois, and in 1991, the offices relocated to Nashville. Sparrow's roster had grown to include BeBe and CeCe Winans, Margaret Becker, and Steven Curtis Chapman.
Sparrow Records Joins the EMI Family & Billy Ray Steps Down as CEO:
In 1995, after emergency heart surgery, Billy Ray Hearn decided to semi-retire. Bill Hearn, his son, had grown up with the label, working everywhere from the shipping department to customer service and telephone sales, before moving into the role of Marketing and Sales VP and then on to President. Bill was the obvious choice for CEO, and he took the job with a prepared heart.
Bill Hearn Takes Sparrow Records to New Levels:
Soon after his transition, Bill Hearn grew his father's dream even more when he oversaw the creation of EMI Christian Music Group. Through a series of partial and full label and publishing catalog acquisitions, the label got even larger while retaining the quality they were well known for.
EMI's labels include Sparrow, Forefront, and EMI Gospel, in addition to joint ventures with Gotee Records, Tooth & Nail/BEC Recording and sixstepsrecords. EMI CMG Distribution distributes third party music and video products and has been the market leader since 1995. EMI CMG Publishing represents more than 300 writers and 35,000 songs.
Sparrow Records Today:
In 2013, the big news was that Universal Music Group was buying EMI. Now known as Capitol CMG Label Group, the move means there are now three major players in the record industry: Capitol CMG, Sony and Warner.
The Musical Style of Sparrow Records:
The Artists of Sparrow Records:
Sparrow Records Roster - 2013
- Amy Grant
- Britt Nicole
- Chris Tomlin
- Christy Nockels
- City Harbor
- Colton Dixon
- David Crowder Band (David Crowder Fan Quiz)
- Hillsong Chapel
- Hillsong Kids
- Hillsong LIVE
- Hillsong UNITED
- Josh Wilson
- Kari Jobe
- Kristian Stanfill
- Louie Giglio
- Matt Hammitt
- Matt Redman
- Matthew West
- Peter Furler
- Sanctus Real
- Shawn McDonald (Ripen Review)
Sparrow (EMI) is also the label behind the WOW Series, the Worship Together series, Here I Am To Worship and the Passion Movement music series.