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Word Records

By

Word Records

Word Records

Word Records
Point of Grace - 2008

Point of Grace - 2008

Word
Patrick Ryan Clark

Patrick Ryan Clark

Word

Word Records:

The Christian record label known as Word Records was founded in 1951 by Jarrell McCracken. McCracken was a sportscaster for a local Waco, Texas radio station and his original intent wasn't to start a radio station, but rather share a single broadcast that he put together.

Jarrell McCracken - Before Word Records:

A Baylor University grad student, Jarrell McCracken worked in radio as a sports broadcaster.

After reading an article by Jimmy Allen, he recorded a fictitious football match between the forces of Good and Evil, with Jesus and Satan coaching the two teams called "The Game of Life." McCracken presented the piece to various churches around central Texas and got so many requests for copies that he had a short run of records pressed and he offered them to the churches he would visit. The fictional radio station in the recording had the call letters "WORD," so that was what was printed on the disc. Word Records was born.

Word Records - In the Beginning:

At first, Word Records featured spoken word recordings, but soon it branched out into gospel music by recording George Beverly Shea and the Baylor Religious Hour Choir.

After Marvin Norcross came on board, Word branched out even further, becoming a publishing house as well as a record label. In 1964, Norcross took the next step by establishing the Canaan Records label to feature Southern Gospel music.

The '70s saw even more growth and change. In 1972, Billy Ray Hearn conceived and headed up Myrrh Records for Word. Two years later, McCracken sold part interest of his company to ABC but he remained president until 1986.

Word's New Owners:

In 1992, Capital Cities/ABC sold Word to Thomas Nelson, Inc. and they moved the headquarters from Waco, Texas to Nashville. Four years later, they split the record label and book publishing arms and sold the label to Gaylord Entertainment.

By 2002, Word had new owners yet again. AOL/Time Warner bought the company this time and did some restructuring of their own by absorbing Myrrh Records, Squint Entertainment and Everland Entertainment into the Word Label Group. In 2004, the Warner Music Group bought the entire Time Warner music group, including Word, for $2.6 billion.

Word Records Today:

Today Word Entertainment includes Word Label Group, Word Publishing, and Word Distribution.

The Word Label Group includes Word Records, Fervent Records, Myrrh Records, and Canaan Records.

Word Publishing has close to 50 Christian songwriters under contract and administers a catalog of more than 40,000 copyrighted songs.

Word Music is the industry's top source for church hymnals, choral music, and associated instrumental music and accompaniment tracks.

Word Distribution provides sales, marketing and distribution services for the Word family of labels as well as several other labels.

The Musical Style of Word Records:

Word artists aren't easily wedged into one specific style of music. The sounds of Word range from adult contemporary and Praise and Worship to soft/modern rock and pop contemporary. Artists like Diamond Rio and Randy Travis add country to the mix, while Salvador brings a Latin flavor, Nicole C. Mullen provides urban R&B and Stellar Kart delivers pop-punk.

Word Records Roster - 2014:

Signature Word Artists

Past Artists of Word Records:

All of these artists have been on the Word label or one of the Word subsidiary labels.

 

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