Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Is Christian Music Dying?

I'm often amazed at how few Christians seem to listen to current Christian music anymore. I shouldn't be, but I am. I think it's because I was raised as part of the Christian subculture. I was steeped in it. I was a Steve Green-ing, Michael W. Smith-ing, Sandy Patti-ing, Truth-ing, 4Him-ing, Steve Curtis Chapman-ing, D.C. Talk-ing fanboy. Their music was good for me and everything else out there was bad. If it wasn't about Jesus, it was forbidden fruit.

I'm over that now. I listen to mainstream music quite a lot these days. And so do most Christians. I mean, turn on KLTY and you'll hear Daughtry! It seems to me that CCM, Christian bookstores, etc. are in serious decline. So I googled "Christian music industry struggling" and found a fascinating article that confirms my "fears." I put "fears" in quotation marks because it's not necessarily a bad thing. Doesn't the idea of "Christian subculture" run counter to the message of Christ anyway?

Okay, I don't want to make this too long lest you decide not to read this fascinating article. And remember that "heaven and earth will pass away, but God's Word is forever."


springstead said...

This trend has a LOT of contributing factors, one of which, fortunately, is greater ease for "open" Christians to sign to mainstream labels. All major "Christian" labels are owned now by mainstream companies, whether for good or bad.

Another factor is the sheer availability of information, music and news both included. Many loud conservative voices trashed the beat of rock music as something demonically inspired. These days, we've got music missionaries all over the world, many still working to convince locals that when Jesus saves you, he saves your drum, too.

When I was a teenager, CCM Magazine seemed like a pretty comprehensive source for Christian music. Now, Christians are involved in virtually every genre (notably, out front especially in mainstream indie rock), such that there's too much being done to keep up with it all. Even if I wanted to buy my preferred music at a local Gospel bookstore, chances are they can't possibly stock all the folks I want to listen to. As with all the other merchandise such stores feature, it usually ends up being easier to get online.

With regard to radio and "major" Christian label artists, the contemporary Gospel scene currently has itself stuck, I think, in a necessary transition back to non-worship music, after a few years of worship music topping their charts. DC Talk and their contemporaries' topics were differently focused than Chris Tomlin and Dave Crowder's have been, and the shift back will take time.

Thanks for posting this.

Grace and peace,
Mike S

Mark Celoria said...

Hey Michael! Thanks for your response.

From what I gathered from your reply, you think that music will trend away from worship music. But I disagree. Due to the fact that there will always be a demand for corporate worship songs, I think writers will continue to cash in. Furthermore, it seems to me that the new DC Talks of the world tend to be mainstream rather than overtly Christian. Songs like "Jesus Freak" would simply not sell in the current climate.

Mark Celoria said...

Whereas songs like "Everything" by Lifehouse are successful and will continue to succeed IMHO.