The Problem With Christian Radio

I wrote this for another blog, which is becoming a podcast (more on that eventually) so I figured I’d post it here. It also gives me the delightful excuse to throw some jams your way.

You say, “Christian music.”
Your agnostic friend thinks, “A load of unoriginal crap by Casting Crowns and Tree63.”

He certainly doesn’t think MuteMath:

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And the world of Christian music-lovers wonder where to direct their angry mob.

I hold that Christian Radio shoulders the bulk of the responsibility. I hold that Christian Radio – in its noble effort to reach as many individuals as possible with the message of the Gospel – effectively works against authentic, beautiful music. Worse, it ends up packaging the message of the Gospel in such embarrassingly banal, watered-down, and unoriginal songs, that the Gospel is obscured, if not actively resisted by the listener.

I will focus my complaint against The Educational Media Foundation, the charity behind K-Love and Air 1 Radio, with the knowledge that much of my complaint against them could be made against other Christian Radio stations. This the EMF’s mission statement:

K-LOVE Radio & Air 1 Radio are a part of the EMF Broadcasting family. K-LOVE communicates the Gospel through mass media to leads as many people as possible toward salvation and spiritual growth. Air 1 Radio delivers positive cutting-edge Christian music to teenagers and young adults.

Nowhere does it mention that the Christian music need be good music, or that it be beautiful music, or that it be well-written, creative, inspiring, touching, or original music. No, for music to be played to the EMF’s over 5 million listeners, there are two pre-requisites: it must be positive, and it must be cutting-edge.

And apparently not Future of Forestry.

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The idea that music gains some inherent value by being cutting-edge is ridiculous. ‘Cutting-edge’ is not an adjective that should ever be applied to art. There are cutting-edge computer programs. There are no cutting-edge paintings. You can own a cutting-edge car. You cannot own a cutting-edge song. It’s well known amidst the Christian world that we live in an age of moral relativism; the denial of the existence of objective good and evil. What’s ignored by the Christian world is the mate of moral relativism we so often fornicate with; aesthetic relativism. The denial of value. The relativism that chooses one song over another because it is newer. The Christian philosopher G.K Chesterton had this to say about moral relativism…

“To introduce into philosophical discussions a sneer at a creed’s antiquity is like introducing a sneer at a lady’s age. It is caddish because it is irrelevant. The pure modernist is merely a snob; he cannot bear to be a month behind the fashion…”

…and I believe that can be equally applied to aesthetic relativism. Applying inherent value to ‘cutting-edge’ music is snobbish. (A.D.D. WORD ASSOCIATION LINK). It’s Very Bad Decisions like this that force artists to imitate Pop music instead of writing authentically, force them to think of how to have a ‘new sound’ instead of a beautiful sound. And perhaps the worst part of the whole affair is this: If you’ve frequented Christian Radio, you know that the attempt to be cutting-edge is never more than an attempt. And thus Christian music uses auto-tune, and the suckage, she continues. We’re lucky when brilliance shines through the bleak, as illustrated so wonderfully by Audrey Assad.

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(To be clear, I’m not saying that Pop music can’t be likable. In fact, it wouldn’t be Pop if it didn’t produce sounds our ears are inclined to and sell a couple million copies. I’m saying that Pop music has no value outside of popularity, outside of the ‘cutting-edge’. It does not strive for beauty, and will thus have a limited effect on the world for about month, and then go back from whence it came.)

The second pre-requisite for songs to be played on K-Love is positivity. My first disagreement with the use of this adjective is that it is often no more than a replacement for the word ‘Christian’. ‘I’m Walking on Sunshine’, I assume is a positive song, but it gets no play on Christian radio. This sneak-attack Christianity is not particularly cunning; when people hear a Chris Tomlin song after the announcement “Positive Hits!” they’re not subtly tricked into liking the song more. And if it is not cunning it can only be cowardly.

But that’s not the point. The point is that positivity means absolutely nothing, even less than cutting-edge. Positivity has utterly no meaning without some frame of reference. Is it moral positivity? Mathematical positivity? Emotional positivity? Is the Crucifixion positive?

Is the question of positivity important at all? How about: is the Crucifixion Good? Yes. Is it True? Yes. Is it Beautiful? Yes. Why is whether it’s ‘positive’ important at all, even if we could figure out what we mean when we say it?

The same applies to songs. Positivity does not lend inherent value to music. My guess is that more people have been changed by Johnny Cash than by TobyMac. And let me be the first to tell you, it ain’t because Cash is positive. If positivity is taken to mean ‘happiness’ then we’ve gone off the deep end and ain’t coming back. The beauty of Christianity is not a kind of happy-go-luckiness that seems to be the musical aim of The Newsboys. The beauty of Christianity is that through suffering and death and darkness, the evil world has been redeemed. To choose only songs based on the criteria of emotional positivity is an emasculating of our religion, and a limitation on what has always made the art of Christianity so awesome. Positivity lends nothing to music; it only helps sell it to soccer moms. And thus we don’t hear Mumford and Sons on Christian  radio.

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To summarize my point; Christian Radio is killing beautiful, Christian music. Its very mission statement implies the death of authenticity in song-writing. That’s not to say there are no survivors. In fact, I’m of the belief that there are far more good ‘Christian’ songs than shallow ones. They’re just harder to find.

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Check out my fuller writings on Christian music here and here.

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  • Anonymous

    The only Christian music I like (other than the traditional stuff) is Alice Cooper. No seriously, his concept album Last Temptation is a meditation on sin and repentance. All the negativitity in his stuff, if it isn’t a gag, is basically a reflection on the world without Christ—fire an’ brimstone being a major feature of Evangelicalism. I seriously doubt any Christian radio station would play any of them, though.

    Possibly because he also has more songs about necrophilia than the average born-again gent. But those are firmly in “gag” territory.

  • http://twitter.com/PHoelscher17 Patrick Hoelscher

    Marc, once again you have gone to the heart of the matter. I am among those who resist Christian Radio. As a musician, it is incredibly difficult to enjoy and appreciate the music played on my local Christian stations. I fervently hope that more people will come to understand what you have written about

  • Nichole

    I love this blog. You have summed up, perfectly, exactly what I have tried to express to many of my friends who don’t understand why I just CAN’T listen to CCM. And I’m glad that you mentioned Audrey Assad, she truly is the exception.

  • Aeroflyer416

    I think both of the stations you mentioned play a lot of good music. Its all a matter of opinion.

    But I do agree with what you said about relativism. Ill give you that. hahahahaha.

  • cgs

    I hear you on the first point, and I love Audrey Assad, she sings at my church. But you are forgetting something here with your second point, that Christian radio appeals to families with YOUNG children, especially mothers who drive their kids 40 minutes to the Catholic school (me). I stopped listening to country music, which I LOVE, because they sing about “I’m a little drunk and I need you now,” and as you pointed out with Johnny Cash, PRISON. I know life is hard, and part of being Christian is knowing the Suffering. But short of listening to all around the mulberry bush all day, the only place that is SAFE for my 2 & 5 year old is Christian radio. I guess I may be the only one as most of the families let their kids listen to junk that is immoral and disgusting. I watched a 6 year old sing that his “Anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun.” Anyway, I am all for GOOD Beautiful music. But I kind of like the positivity part. It is one of the reasons we DO listen to Christian radio. Sometimes I don’t want to explain to a 5 year old about the pain of divorce, murder, alcoholism etc (that can make a beautiful story in a song). Just for a little while I would like to keep them innocent. The world IS harsh, the learn that fast enough. Can’t we just sing a happy song? Laura Story’s Blessings is about as harsh as I want in this moment in time… and it is a good song. My kids sing it and it brings tears to my eyes.

    • Anonymous

      Is letting a 6-year-old sing Baby Got Back grounds to lose custody? I say yes. Good grief.

      But I agree; I think this all the time when people complain about some station/show/movie not being allowed to be as “edgy” as it wants. Always someone’s like “you just want everywhere to be safe for kids”, and the logical reply is, “Uh, no, I think at this point somewhere that’s safe is the goal, and a further-off, dreamier-eyed goal it becomes every day.”

      • Penny Farthing1893

        I agree – I hate when they lower the standards of which words you can say on primetime, or on the radio. I think there also songs that are totally inappropriate even if there are no bad words. There needs to be someplace that is safe for kids to be entertained. Primetime TV used to be OK for all ages, even when there was a ton of implied subtext that adults would get and kids wouldn’t. I think we can’t write like that anymore. Now, I personally find a lot of Christian radio to be pretty insipid, but then again, I find most pop music insipid too, and some of it is offensive to boot.

        My radio presets are a mixed bag in my in my truck – classic rock (for Alice Cooper’s show), a country station, because country is some of the only poetry we have left, the university’s NPR affiliate for classical, an AM station that plays songs from the 30′s, 40′s and 50′s, no less than 3 talk radio stations (I’m kind of a politics junkie). I typically flip between them a lot, depending on my mood/ the quality of the programming.

        If I had kids, the only change I would make is changing the channel a little more often, since what is appropriate for me may be too harsh for them. But listening to music/watching TV that may not be your first choice is a sacrifice parents make.

        I think there needs to be Christian radio for grown-ups though, that has actually good bands with original music of all styles, and maybe some thought-provoking talk. Like EWTN on the radio, but with more music.

    • Tienne McKenzie

      I agree 100%. There is definitely a need for K-LOVE, especially when you’re a mother of young children and often in the car. I want to be able to listen to something that is both fun and safe for my kids without resorting to putting the Clearmont Bible Kids CD on neverending repeat, and I am all for positive and uplifting when one is stuck in traffic and 10 minutes late to a tennis lesson. I’d like to support more Christian artists, but I don’t want my KLOVE-type radio stations to suffer as a result. There has to be a way to support both.

  • The Ubiquitous

    You’re dead wrong. Art is always cutting-edge, which as used anywhere is a synonym for daring.

    • The Ubiquitous

      Dead wrong *about that particular point.* This is what I meant to say …

    • Anonymous

      Art is always daring? Really.

      Huh. Easily 90% of all human art has been simple decorations for mundane, utilitarian items. What, pray, is daring about printing flowers on napkins or bamboo-leaves on kimonos?

      Art is generally only “daring” when the people making it are bad at it, and use being “cutting-edge” as a substitute for “doesn’t look like crap”. The only talented people nowadays are in illustration, not “fine art”, because “fine art” is so consumed with being “daring” that aesthetics has been completely replaced by “message”. Have you seen post-modern art? It’s wall-to-wall political cartoons, and not, as a rule, first-rate political cartoons.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

        As a mom I agree with your points about safe music… but how about some jazz, classical, even music from other countries where it’s largely instrumental & you don’t know the lyrics but the foreign words and tunes are still a delight. Personally, I think the protesant happy-clappy water downed religion that is contemporary Christian music is as soul rotting for the Catholic as Rhianna singing about whips and chains.

  • Sarah

    As one who has worked in “Christian media”, you also have to remember there is a business side to this just as there is in the secular media. They want (and need) to sell as much as they can to stay afloat. So they’ll pick “popular” over quality, and “new” over old (to convince you you need to buy the next thing) every time. So, I think what we’re seeing in “Christian media” is the age-old tension between high art and commercial art. (Well, admittedly sometimes those two work together well, like with Michelangelo’s commissioned masterpieces. But sometimes they don’t, especially when a culture as a whole is more interested in feeling good or being entertained than exploring truth or beauty.).

    • Penny Farthing1893

      That is true – it’s difficult for stations to make ends meet and they need to sell advertising. However, I think it’s a fallacy that good art doesn’t sell – I think it’s rarely tried. Even if a Christian station would have one hour in the day (or night) where they give different sounds a chance, I bet people would tune in and discover a lot of artists with real talent. Hey, they could even interview the artists to promote them, and then feature them on the station’s website. If a station is going to be commercial, then it can’t be passive – it must be entrepreneurial.

      • Sarah

        I don’t disagree! :) I would prefer to see it done this way too. And I find the current model frustrating. I will say, you’d be surprised what does sell and doesn’t (as an editor, I post pieces that I feel are high quality – no one reads. Then I post pieces that are very fluffy and self-centered… and people read. Sigh. :) But that doesn’t mean we should just give up on quality.)

  • Levi

    Have you ever checked any of the music that Deas Vail writes? They have collaborated with Relient K and Matt Maher, I really like their music.

  • David Casper

    You know, normally I don’t do this, but I feel like this might be a good time and place to put myself out there. My name is David Casper, and I’m a Catholic musician. You might know me as the guy who did the “Catholic pick-up line song.” Ever since I really took interest in my faith back in high school, I have completely and wholeheartedly felt everything stated in this post, and my goal as a Catholic musician is to break that mold and try to let the Holy Spirit make GOOD music through me. I’m really, REALLY picky about the music I listen to (can’t stand Hillsong or most of Chris Tomlin), so I try my best not to make music I wouldn’t want to listen to myself. Marc, if you’d care to look me up at http://www.davidcaspermusic.com, I’d really appreciate your insights on my music. I think you’re a fabulous blogger, I look forward to every post, and I’m currently working on a second album, so any opinions you might like to voice about my music would be both very welcome and very beneficial in a practical way.

    Thank you for being such a Bad Catholic. :P

    • http://spiritualworkoutblog.blogspot.com Liesl

      I’m not able to pull up your music at work, but I will be sure to check it out later. Best of luck working on your next album!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RS2NGO5O4VTWXTXB2H2Q6Z6TDM Sky

    I love you Marc, this is exactly how I feel about modern Christian (and secular for that matter) music, and is exactly why Godspell is pretty much the extent of the Christian music I listen to, with a few exceptions, like Matt Maher. I much prefer traditional Catholic music. I’d like to form a band that combines traditional organy music with 70′s hard rock.

  • http://spiritualworkoutblog.blogspot.com Liesl

    I couldn’t agree with you more – I don’t listen to most Christian radio because it is “packaging the message of the Gospel in such embarrassingly banal, watered-down, and unoriginal songs.” And I also agree with you – thank goodness for Audrey Assad breaking through that – because she is definitely not banal nor watered-down.

    I’d love to hear your recommendations for great Christian music out there that doesn’t get a lot of notice. I too am a “musical elitist” so I like to listen to “good” music that stimulates my ears and touches my heart.

  • Nicholas33

    Here is one factor not yet mentioned but really the number one problem: money.

    In the case of “Christian Radio,” it’s simply become another genre of music, which is the anti-thesis of what Christianity is supposed to be, a genre reflecting personal preference. As another genre among many, it must follow the secular business model of constant output so as to stay “relevant” and this results in the downfall of all art as a whole because it becomes about meeting a deadline and staying “popular” and not about quality. The only way the business model works is if the “business” remains profitable, meaning the underlying motive for everything broadcast is making a dollar, even if done for good intentions.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AKEFUTELG55HZ42DRUNWO4QJ5I doublecbob

    Gospel Funk is where the musicians and writers are. Music is a complete waist of time unless it causes an emotional experience. Just sayen

  • Soren

    As a devout Christian (but filthy Protestant), let me commend you for writing this post. I’m not the biggest fan of the bands you posted, but I feel equally left out of Christian radio because I happen to be a huge fan of the more extreme variants of heavy metal. Christian radio, when it deigns to throw the “hard rock kids” a couple hours near midnight on Friday night, is under the impression that Red and Disciple are “hard rock and/or metal”.

    Try again, folks. This is my worship music:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhxepyzrlIQ

    • Ry

      Have you heard Red live? The music they play that is NOT carried by Christian radio is pretty heavy. Often pretty dark, but still very christian.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1838570798 Michael Yost

    What is your opinion on praise and worship songs during Church services (Mass, Benediction, Evensong, etc.)? I’m very much an organ/choral/Rite One kinda guy as regards Liturgy and Liturgical Music, and disapprove deeply of anything pop-ish inside church. (Outside, I listen to AC/DC, so I’m not a Musical Snob, just a liturgical one.) I would appreciate your thoughts, as this is something that irks me horribly whenever I attend a Catholic Mass with such music….

  • guest

    This is all opinion. Normally, you preach what is right and true in your posts; what the Church teaches. This is post is discouraging. Your tone is unkind. Regardless of your intentions, you don’t SEEM to be a charitable person. Anyone who is not Catholic will look at your posts and shudder at how rude you seem. One reads your posts and gets the impression that you are sticking up your nose in arrogance. Work on your approach. Remember, the faith cannot be imposed, but proposed. (Ever though this particular post of yours didn’t actually have anything to do with our faith)

    • Michael Norton

      I think you’re confusing accurate analysis with undue criticism

  • http://andrewensley.com/ Andrew

    “To summarize my point; Christian Radio is killing beautiful, Christian music.”

    I mostly agree, but I would say that pop Christian radio is killing beautiful, Christian music; just like pop secular radio is killing beautiful secular music.

    And by the way, Chaos is one of my all-time favorite songs. Being a bassist/drummer might have something to do with it. :-p

  • AngelaP

    I love FOF. Believe it not… they have been to our tiny little Texas town twice now! One for their Advent Tour in 2010 and another time in 2011. Their Advent Tour was amazing. Does anyone know…would the lead singer have been Catholic at one time?

  • http://everythingtosomeone.blogspot.com/ Christie

    Okay, as a literary person, I think I can draw strong parallels. In the same way there is “pop fiction” versus “literature,” I certainly think there is a difference between mass-market Christian music and musical art that is fundamentally Christ-centered. I’m not claiming that the authors and artists of the former have no talent, but when approaching art as a sacramental concept, it’s merely honest to say that not all attempts make the cut.

    I think that’s part of what Marc means about artistic relativism. All art is not great art. To call it such would be to demean all of it into a muddled, gray mess. And that’s not doing anyone any favors.

  • Ry

    I know that I used to think “Christian Music” meant Sandy Patty and Steve Green. So I completely understand why they’ve labeled Air 1 “cutting edge.” I believe they are trying to remind people it isn’t what we grew up with, and just because it’s Christian doesn’t mean its boring and has no drums or no rap or no heavy metal. Your heart can cry out in many ways, not just in soft rock ;)

    I also agree with you that musical art is harder to find on the radio. So often its the “Christian Version” of the current secular chart topper that you hear played over and over. While I would like to hear true artists, I can’t say I don’t like the “bubble gum radio” because I listen to Air 1 a lot, and my heart sings loudly along with my voice to our God and Creator, so I cannot label it as bad, useless, or negative. Just lacking in creativity.

    I look forward to discovering and enjoying some audio art. Thanks!

  • Biblegirl

    Yes, the world is evil. Ecclesiastes says so, but it it also gives hope
    the hope of God and the hope of the coming of Jesus. But, the secret is
    HOPE. These song remind that God offers Hope through Jesus. This world without Jesus is HOPELESS, and these artist are trying to remind the listeners. I am a Christian. I listen to christian music on christian radio and YouTube. I must say I love the mention Johnny Cash because he was the reason I am a Christian. He was a great man and Christian. He would probably though agree with me. The musicians mentioned in this article are good at what they do and their message is clear. Yeah they are not Beethoven or Bach.These songs have reached out to people none the less.Toby Mac for example has a song he sang with his former group the song was called Jesus Freak. He was talking about in the song, how the world saw him as a freak believing in Christ, and how he did not care what the world said about him and that he was going to keep believing no matter. Toby also did a song called Lose My Soul, it talked about how he was not going to give into the world’s temptations and how he wanted to be a real family man. Newsboy New song God’s Not Dead is a song that says what it means. Children needs to hear songs like that because it will set an example instead of hear about sex, gun violence, and love of money that they get from secular music.

  • Eric

    I totally agree with the article’s premise that “Christian” music played on the radio usually isn’t very good, but bands with a bunch of Christians that don’t want to be labeled “Christian”, but write Christianized lyrics seems weird.

    I used to be a giging jazz musician and played with many fellow Christian musicians, but we played jazz. There was and is a sense in which, when I play jazz or any other type of music, I try to glorify God with the artform, because all things beautiful come from Him. But, I didn’t limit myself to playing jazz only with other Christinas. If I did that, I’d have to call the group in some sense a group of Christians playing jazz, then they group’s purpose would go beyond just the music for music sake. The reality is, you are going to have much more of an impact for the Gospel on non-Christians you play with than getting a group of Christians together to play pseudo-Christian music for a bunch of non-believers.

  • E Haven

    The Newsboys actually have some deep/non-positive songs. Take a listen to their Going Public CD for instance which ends with a song discussing a suicide. I think Steve Taylor gets a lot of credit for many of these deeper songs, and there has been a lightening of the band’s lyrical depth recently…

  • Phillip Reyes

    Hey, you can hate this music all you want, but the christian world is expanding. With expansion comes diffusion. This means, not everyone can accept the same music. as for me i dont like gospel that sounds boring and is heard in a cathedral. I love songs by Tobymac, Third day, the newsboys, and many others. I have friends that dont like how that kind of music sounds, but they love their religion, so they found other means to hear the music. Don’t you think it’d make sense if people listened to the music they liked? and still support their own reason? Also, why do we have to make our music sad? yes, i know the crucifixion was a sad period in time, but we must also not forget that jesus died for our sins. Should we not be happy for this reason? We should have love and rejoice for what has happened and never forget what he did for us. but if we sit there and mourning his death, instead of giving glory to what he has done then we are nothing. as the band “For king and country” put in the song “in the proof of your love” it said that “i can speak with a silver toungue but without love i am nothing… no matter what i say,no matter what i believe no matter what i do, i am bankrupt without love” therefore if we don’t love what jesus had done. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
    God wants us to support him, he wants us to embrace his everlasting love. also jesus had said in john 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but
    through Me.” Jesus wants us to accept his love, and we can’t go to god unless jesus allows us too. but if we have no remembrance of the crucifixion, we will forget of jesus, and his sacrifice. and these artists have used music to keep remembrance of this fact. so to you they may be wrong, but in all reality, and beyond that, they are doing much more good than you could possibly know, just look at the song god gave me you, it had been remade by blake shelton in his album. this song came on while he was on the road, while he was in a rough patch with miranda lambert. he stopped on the road when god gave me you came on, went on itunes and downloaded the song. the next time he went to the record company he wanted this song on the album, cause it came to him at the time he needed it the most. you may say it could be coincidence but its really more than that

  • Indeed

    Okay, speaking as a Christian songwriter who typically agrees with a lot of these criticisms, I want to introduce a word of warning to all of you folks:

    You DO need to understand how the economics of this works. (Hey, it’s a fallen world; whaddaya expect?)

    So, lemme give you a primer:

    Take two working secular musicians. One writes eccentric music with narrow market-appeal; the other writes bland, formulaic music with broad market appeal.

    The first sells a smaller number of recordings because they cater to particular “niche” tastes. But they make a really small amount — pennies, typically — on each sale. Their income from the recordings starts only after all associated costs of publishing and agency and recording and promotion have been deducted. Result: $40,000 a year, maybe.

    The second artist, with broad market appeal, sells a larger number of recordings plus, importantly, a lot of merchandise. They become a “brand” with licensing. Like the first artist, they make only pennies on each recording, but they sell ten or a hundred times as many recordings, plus merchandise and licensed goods. Result: An income of millions annually, even after the costs of publishing and agency and recording and promotion are covered.

    So much for the secular market. What about the Christian?

    Ah, that’s where it gets tricky. Around 10% of the overall music-buying crowd are willing to purchase recordings and merchandise with overtly Christian lyrics or which are directly marketed as “Christian.”

    So let’s take those prior two artists and make them Christian instead of secular.

    Now the second artist, with the broad market appeal, has his number of recordings sold cut to 10% of what it was before. But it’s still easily enough to live on: Maybe $60K or $80K or even $100K annually. If he writes songs that church praise bands find easy to learn and sing, and gets the income from that, so much the better: That’s the Christian equivalent of a secular artist’s income from licensed goods. Christina Aguilera has a perfume line; Chris Tomlin has a praise-n-worship line.

    But the first artist, with the niche market appeal, has a problem. Once his audience becomes Christian instead of secular, he has cut his market down, A LOT. Previously, he was targeting whatever subset of all music listeners like his niche style of music; but now, he is targeting whatever subset of THAT set is willing to buy explicitly Christian music. Whereas the secular version of this artist can make forty or fifty or sixty thousand dollars a year, the Christian version can make four, or five, or six thousand.

    Just try having a quiverfull of kids and feeding them on THAT kind of income.

    Thus the existing dynamic: Christian record companies won’t front the recording and promotion and touring costs for a musical style that doesn’t have the broad appeal, because only that broad appeal, when limited by the “Christian” label, will still be big enough to cover the costs and feed the artist’s family at the end of the day.

    And as for those Christian artists whose music is a bit too odd for immediate mass-market appeal? You know, the kinds of folks who, with time and development, end up producing the next generation of new and creative music?

    Well, they either have to supplement their income by writing more accessible stuff for the praise-n-worship folks, or go get a day job. Or, a few lucky souls are independently wealthy and can afford to blow it on music that doesn’t yet sell well. They in effect have what musicians of Europe sometimes had in the Renaissance: A wealthy patron. (Even if it’s their parents.)

    That’s the reality. Economics drives blandness often enough in the secular world, but economies of (smaller) scale magnify this effect in the Christian world, and artists that retain their uniqueness often starve.

    Or else go build websites for realtors for a living, halving their time for music. Welcome to my world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sean.flynn.90663 Sean Flynn

    I declare that the most unintentionally bad song to be recorde, ever, is “Divers City” by Toby Mac. It’s as though they were in the studio and said, “why don’t we use every musical cliche we can think of, sing about the greatness of inclusiveness (as though there are those who oppose it), and then throw in some auto-tune?”

  • Donovan
  • Bond007

    After reading the comments on this topic I began to think about what “Christian” music is and what it is not. I believe that contemporary Christian music, that is played on Christian radio stations, is for the purpose of entertainment. It disturbs me when I hear artist connecting music that is professionally pre-recorded and packaged for profit, with evangelism as if it were a ministry. If this were correct then the tour shows should be free and the cd’s and music downloads should be on a donation basis; this would place the artist in the non-profit category as a musical evangelist – wouldn’t it? I would say that many Christian artists really are musicians with a heart for God who are trying to make a living performing music. Don’t get me wrong, I do not have a problem with Christian artists working in this manner. What I have an issue with is when they mask their motives of earning money while under the moniker of “ministry”. I don’t like seeing Praise and Worship music being marketed in the same manner as CCM. Praise and Worship is for the edification of the Lord and should be reserved and respected. I love hearing praise and worship music; it lifts up my day and brings me closer to God. Make no excuses… Contemporary Christian music is for entertainment and is a business entity. Worship should never co-mingle with business enterprise (insert money changers in the temple here). I know that some may disagree with my opinion, but we as brothers and sisters in Christ need to stop allowing the lie to perpetuate and call a spade a spade. There is nothing wrong with making music for money while targeting a Christian marketplace.

  • David

    Of course the Crucifixion was positive! Jesus wasn’t nailed to a minus sign, was he? ;-)

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

  • Bill Board

    Here is something a little different !!! with a message to of God children this is Christian music I like

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GPNX1zDW8g


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