Today, NewReleaseToday is celebrating 15 years online, marking a decade and a half of industry-leading coverage and innovation in the Christian music industry.
NRT started as a pet project/hobby of Founder Kevin McNeese in 2002, and has since grown to become the largest Christian music site online, having reached more than 50 million visitors since its inception.
A number of artists expressed their congratulations to NRT on its anniversary, as compiled in a video, which may be found HERE.
“It’s pretty incredible to look back and see how far not just our site has come, but how far Christian music–and music in general–has come,” McNeese said. “We’re honored to have been able to speak into this industry for the past 15 years.”
The site–originally called NewReleaseTuesday to reflect the former weekly release day in the U.S.–started as the first central hub of the major Christian labels’ street dates, and steadily grew to become a site that now has more than 60,000 different entry points per month, more than 1,700 staff reviews, more than 2,100 feature articles, 2,500 news articles and a library of nearly 18,000 albums from 5,400 artists.
Having grown from its origins as a one-man operation, the industry leading content now appears courtesy of more than a dozen volunteer and paid staff members, working from various locations from coast to coast in the continental United States and Canada.
“I’ve been amazed at the way God has orchestrated volunteers, employees and partners throughout the years in ways that I could never do on my own,” McNeese said. “We now are a team of many–all passionate about helping people discover as much Christian music that we can find while building lasting, loving and fruitful relationships with others who have the same desires.”
NRT grew beyond the bounds of its online presence, launching NRT Radio (www.NRTRadio.com), an Internet radio network that itself grew from just one station now to six (with a seventh in the works), reaching more than 40,000 listeners every month. And speaking of radio, NRT’s industry leading podcasts early on branched out into a full-blown syndication network, providing 12 hours of audio programming weekly to more than 500 radio stations across the globe.
“The biggest part of NRT’s story the past 15 years has been its adaptability,” said NRT Executive Editor Marcus Hathcock, who began working with McNeese writing Christian music reviews prior to the launch of NewReleaseTuesday. “We’ve been blessed to be able to make important changes as the industry has changed.”
One of the more obvious changes NRT has undergone was its name change in 2015, as the music industry moved away from Tuesday releases to Friday street dates globally. The site chose the name NewReleaseToday instead of NewReleaseFriday to reflect the site’s dedication to ongoing, daily reporting on the world of Christian music and entertainment.
The name change is just one of many examples of NRT’s efforts to keep up with a rapidly changing entertainment climate and consumer culture, which includes early adoption of social media integration to participating in the streaming music revolution, to embracing the explosion of independent/unsigned artists.
In addition, in its quest to expose as many people as possible to as much Christian music as possible, NRT launched the We Love Christian Music Awards in 2012. The awards, now approaching their sixth year, have served not just as a way to honor the biggest names in Christian music, but to recognize the efforts of the independent and unsigned artists, introducing them to the masses.
Fifteen years in, NRT is poised to keep furthering its mission.
“We’re excited to keep finding new ways to keep sharing the entire world of Christian music, serving our partners and spreading the good news of Jesus Christ,” Hathcock said. “We’ve got a lot of exciting things in the works, and can’t wait to share them.”
For his part, McNeese says he’s happy to be a part of the industry he loves so much.
“NewReleaseToday has been an absolute dream job for this kid that was called into music ministry at age 13,” he said, “and I’ll be incredibly honored to work in this capacity for as long as God wants me here.”