Gospel Music Association Head Steps Down

The president and CEO of the Gospel Music Association has stepped down from the position as part of series of changes the organization is implementing in response to the current economic recession and the shifting shape of the gospel music industry.

"We're implementing a plan that I drafted and recommended to our GMA Board last week, and we all agree this is a fiscally responsible direction to go," said John Styll, who has served as president and CEO of the GMA for the last six years and on the GMA Board of Directors for many more.

"We've been tightening our belts for some time in this economy and now we're at a point where I think it's wise to take my own salary off the books," Styll added in a statement released this past Thursday.

According to the GMA, the streamlining of the organization has been fueled by the economy as well as the changing profile of GMA's membership – the most important audience it serves and the association's principal source of income.

While record labels, radio stations, retailers and other traditional categories of members continue to support the GMA, an increasing percentage of GMA's membership is made up of independent artists, songwriters and musicians and other small music business professionals who are looking to GMA for community, networking and advocacy.

GMA has also witnessed an increase in the number of volunteers.

So with the economy in the state it is in today, the association decided to scale down the number of paid staff and return to a more volunteer-driven operation.

"The GMA, like many other organizations and businesses, has taken hits during this prolonged downturn in our economy," reported Ed Leonard, president of Daywind Music Group and the new chairman of the GMA Board of Directors. "It has forced the GMA Board to evaluate our association's current business model and to acknowledge that in order to meet current obligations and needs of our members, and to ensure GMA's vitality in the future; we needed to make some significant changes."

Though Styll will no longer be serving as GMA president and CEO, the former CCM Magazine publisher will remain a permanent board member of the GMA.

The board, meanwhile, will be substituting a managerial level professional to oversee staff at the GMA office.

The position, so far, has not yet been filled.