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The History of Incubator

Since it’s inception in 1989, Incubator has been an innovator in the field of artist development for emerging artists in the local church marketplace. Often ahead of its time, the company has repeatedly brought focus to aspects of the then current culture of Christian music that eventually become more mainstream. Growth and change (and discomfort!) are a natural part of any healthy organism. Incubator hasn’t been able to avoid the normal pangs of growth any more than the countless artists we’ve served! We believe understanding the growth history of an individual or a company can give you a sharp insight into its life, character, and mission.

If you were to imagine Incubator as an ever-improving artist development ‘software program', then Incubator has evolved in four distinct ‘versions’: (more...)

Incubator 1.0 (1989 to 1992)
Incubator 2.0 (1993 to 1999)
Incubator 3.0 (2000 to 2007)
Incubator 4.0 (2008 and beyond)

Incubator 1.0 (1989 to 1992)

Incubator Records launched as a small Seattle-based independent label in 1989. Partnering with several Pacific Northwest Christian radio stations, Incubator published Happening! Magazine – an innovative events and entertainment publication. That creative partnership provided an astounding six-figure radio promotions budget that served to advertise Incubator’s fledgling artist roster in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. Although more prevalent today, artist development was an obscurity in most of the Christian music industry. Yet, from its inception, Incubator placed a primary focus on artist development – and specifically targeted its mission around the local church marketplace. A demand for Incubator’s unique services on a larger scale nudged the company out of its comfortable regional focus to a national expansion. (more...)


Incubator 2.0 (1993 to 1999)

As Incubator expanded nationally, it coined the term “emerging artist” – a more commonplace moniker in the Christian music industry today. Despite the conventional wisdom, Incubator stuck fast to its relational contract-based client structure choosing to make a long-term commitment to its artists rather than marketing services a la carte. In the early 90’s, the company began touting the validity and future of the ‘indie’ artist long before it became the fashionable norm. The ‘thumb up’ gesture of the company’s chicken mascot was an irreverent pass at the entrenchment of the machinery in place in the Christian music industry. A growing visibility and years of corporate sponsorship of the Christian Artists Seminar in the Rockies helped to position the company as a leader in the artist development field. As Christian mcmusic continued its dramatic growth curve, Incubator began identifying a number of dissonant factors faced by the emerging artist – and began to address them.  The ongoing difficulty of financial sustainability for the independent music ministry and the power of niche marketing fused fresh company concepts that were to prove dynamic factors in the new millennium.  (more...)


Incubator 3.0 (2000 to 2008)

While the world experienced the explosion of the Internet and the resulting upheaval of the music industry, Incubator was quietly following a side path. Developing practical solutions to ministry funding, and further deepening its commitment to the ‘nobodies’ and unknown ‘weekend warriors’ Incubator carved out new ministry infrastructures. The company expanded on the concept of the ‘musicianary’ and launched its successful Vision 2020 campaign, aiding its roster in building personal Vision Teams for both part-time and full-time music ministries. The company’s reach extended v2020internationally beyond North America. Its commitment to the core values and principles of its proven artist development strategies deepened. Always unconventional, seldom resting on its laurels and occasionally misunderstood, Incubator continued to evolve with the changing landscape of the new Internet age. Incubator launches into its most exciting decade ever with a renewed commitment to the unsung heroes of Christian music, a fierce loyalty to supporting the local church marketplace, and a fresh dose of innovation in its two decades of ministry/business systems.  (more...)

Incubator 4.0 (2009 and beyond)

Tempered with decades of experience as a company and thousands who have benefited from Incubator’s innovative leadership, the company launches into its third decade of operation in 2009. Incubator’s proven artist development systems have been expanded and updated, capitalizing on the burgeoning opportunities in niche marketing. Incubator 4.0 makes it possible for contract artists to show a positive cashflow in their music ministries within 180 days of contract signing, fully funded by revenues generated as a result of implementing Incubator’s proprietary systems. The company continues to advance full funding for recording projects on the flagship Incubator label and provides innovative partnership financing on other recording adventures. The proprietary ‘FanAnthropist’ Funding System is another Incubator first and extends its proven systems for creating alternative revenue streams for its artists. Incubator is taking full advantage of new Internet technologies, but once again, in a specialized posture that is strategically designed to the unique aspects of the local church marketplace. While others are jumping on the buzzing bandwagons of the music marketing revolution, Incubator continues its steady course of focusing the application of industry principles and technologies on the unique needs of the emerging artist functioning in the local church marketplace.