Christian music invades secular-market genres

For those who love it, those who think it sucks, and everything in between.

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musicmonkey
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music as a consumable product

Unread postby musicmonkey » Wed Jun 22, 2005 10:10 pm

Hi Roy,

Thanks for writing a thoughtful response.

On the topic of being over-produced, I'd like to take your concept one step further and say that I believe that, overall, mainstream music is often over-produced to fit into the formula that sells the most albums. One thing the average consumer forgets is that the music industry is a profit-driven industry, just like the laundry detergent industry or the automobile industry, etc. To the major record labels, music is just one more consumable product where money can be made. From Tide to Ford to WEA to Sparrow Records, marketing companies spend countless dollars looking for ways to make more money by jumping on the latest bandwagon.

For example, Beyonce Knowles had a big hit a year or two ago and then a few months ago, Jennifer Lopez had a new song with a very similar rhythm/beat which (no surprise here) jumped to the top of the charts. Then there's the vocoder - a sound effect that can make a human voice sound synthetic. Perhaps you remember the german group Kraftwerk which used a lot of vocoder effects in their songs. In the late 90s, Cher used vocoder effects and soon every band was following suit.

All the major Christian record labels are subsidiaries of major "secular" record labels and are also run for profit with a "demographic" where JPMs (Jesus' per minute) are no laughing matter. Sadly, CCM labels play it "really safe" by trying to re-create the tried and true sounds of yesterday's pop stars. The expression 'a day late and a dollar short' comes to mind. I think more and more bands are realizing the ghetto of the CCM industry and they fear having their over-priced debut CD being moved to the dusty clearance shelves of Christian book stores along with the other one-hit wonders (if you can even call them 'hits').

That said, we live in a great time as the major record labels can no longer keep up with the pace of disintegration of traditional business models. Thankfully, online distributors of independent music, like <a href="http://www.pastemusic.com/">Paste Music</a>, are growing and providing a much needed outlet for good music to find our ears.

When asked her opinions on the future of contemporary music, <a href="http://www.nataliemerchant.com/">Natalie Merchant</a> wrote:Well, I think you are participating in it by being at this website. It's pretty obvious to everyone that the revolution has happened. The People can now easily cut out a hoard of middlemen (record companies, radio stations, music press and retail shops). With a series of computer strokes they can find the music they want to hear, become informed about the musicians who make it, find other people who share their interest and ultimately either buy, trade or steal that coveted sound ... It's an extraordinary opportunity to speak directly to you, represent myself and not speak or work through a translator. After spending nearly 20 years contracted to a major label, I have mixed feelings about their demise. These companies have profited immensely from your insatiable desire for listening and helped musicians for several decades to reach you. They grew fat and excessive. They exploited and they monopolized. They edited and censured. They've been rapidly loosing their means of production, distribution and promotion to the internet. They have been economizing by dropping artists, cutting staff and folding into one another but they can't keep up with the pace of disintegration. You might not have ever heard my name if Elektra Records hadn't made me one of their artists for hire. I'm both grateful and resentful and you probably are too ... The internet is offering bold alternatives but a transistor radio is only $25.00 and not everyone is hooked up through a computer and high speed connection.


David

PS - What do you play?

musicmonkey
Founder
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:12 am
Favourite TV Show: The Leftovers
Quote: Nevermind, it's pointless
Location: Vancouver, BC
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Unread postby musicmonkey » Thu Jun 23, 2005 6:59 pm

Some of you may feel that I am one-sided in this discussion and so I want to share an article that admonishes the blanket judgment of CCM artists.

<a href="http://store.discerningreader.com/ccm.html">The Discerning Reader: A Christian Bookstore For Postmodern Times wrote:We hear a good deal of negative opinion voiced today about "contemporary Christian music." It seems that some among us are prepared to dismiss it altogether. To them it is an expression of our current Christian culture's having strayed from the perspectives of God's Holy Word. We find this attitude quite sad . . . and fear it grieves God's Spirit. To pronounce such blanket judgment upon those whom Christ has gifted to serve in the edification of His people merely creates needless division. Better to judge each individual artist's work on its own merits — for by their fruit you shall know them. Anything less is sheer bigotry.

We believe that Christians need to exercise discernment and wisdom in choosing music. To that end we would like to pass on a few recommended works. The Christian artists who have labored to produce these recent recordings give ample evidence that God is blessing his people with fresh — contemporary — expressions of love, worship and praise. And while they often have a beat, they do not share the riotous elements that characterize the MTV generation. They make a joyful noise . . .


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