A division of Sony Philippines, Waterwalk Records is crossing genre and denominational lines to bring inspirational songs to the online masses.
As Roslyn Pineda drew closer to God during the pandemic, she reconnected online with Christian friends she hadn’t seen in years. Though she had been living in Hong Kong for 20 years, she joined their Bible studies back in the Philippines.
And as the general manager of Sony Music Philippines, she began thinking about the significance of Christian music during this global moment.
“Given the many hardships and the monumental losses that COVID-19 has brought about, would it not make sense that people would turn to God? Whether they knew it or not, would they not need more faith-based and inspirational music in their lives?” asked Pineda, who is Filipina.
In October 2021, Pineda and Sony Music launched Waterwalk Records, a Christian label focused on contemporary artists and streaming listeners.
The new label was promising on the evangelistic front and on a business one. Sony’s Christian division, Provident, ranked the Philippines among its top 10 markets outside the US. And the audience demographics were also the most sought-after by churches and companies alike: 16-to-35-year-olds who demand authenticity and consume music through Spotify and YouTube.
“It is an unexplored market that has a huge potential,” Pineda said. “We had to go where the streaming market is. While many of our audience is active in their Christian communities, we also wanted to reach out to those who are non-Christians and/or nonpracticing Christians.”
In the Philippines, top songs on the Christian charts often come from global labels like Hillsong or church networks like Every Nation Music and Victory Church, which has more than 100 locations across the country. Original Filipino Gospel, mostly sung in Tagalog, has …