It turns out the music industry does have a prayer: gospel.

While most types of music have posted declines in recent years, gospel sales have held steady. And now gospel’s biggest star, Kirk Franklin, is launching a new record label with Sony Corp.’s RCA Records to steer the often-insular genre in a more inclusive–and more profitable–direction.

“It’s kind of hard if you have people running a label that don’t go to church,” said Mr. Franklin. “You don’t know what the choirs are singing.”
Mr. Franklin, 43 years old, will be chairman and chief executive of the new Fo Yo Soul Recordings, which will have an emphasis on younger and more secular acts than RCA’s existing gospel imprint. It is one of a series of interlocking endeavors designed to boost Mr. Franklin’s mainstream visibility, following a successful arena tour last year.
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