According to a story in The Tennessean, Mike and Sue Gay figured they had a pretty good idea for a new business, but they never expected it to become what it has.
Now, 17 years into their homegrown music company that features children's songs with a Christian bent, the couple has sold more than 20 million copies.
"We didn't bank on this doing what it did," Mike Gay said, pointing to the platinum and gold records hanging on a basement wall.
Cedarmont Kids, the label started by the Gays in 1993, was created in part so Sue could work from home and raise their two children. For 12 years, Mike had worked in the Christian music business as a sales manager and brought a solid understanding of what the market would support. Sue, meanwhile, was a music teacher and singer who spent several years developing print music.
Their plan was to use well-known Sunday school songs, gospel music standards, spirituals and childhood favorites – all available for free in the public domain – to produce inexpensive albums. Children sing the songs and most of the albums retail for $3.99.
Hitting this price point is critical, Mike said. Children's albums are sold to parents whose shopping carts are already loaded with household necessities, so an album that sells for $3.99 ought to be more appealing than an album that sells for $10.99, he said.
Photo by Cedarmont Kids.