Looking ahead to the next decade of Christian music

The first decade of the 21st century has seen big changes in Christian music.

The previous decade honored the music of Amy Grant, Sandi Patty and Phillips, Craig & Dean. The first decade of the 2000s was dominated by male vocalists. I often complain about new and upcoming artists with too much of a similar cookie cutter sound. What’s exciting about this group of leaders, they should continue to move Contemporary Christian in new directions for years to come.

Billboard’s Best of the 2000s: Christian Song Artists
1. MercyMe
2. Casting Crowns
3. Jeremy Camp
4. Chris Tomlin
5. Third Day
6. Matthew West
7. Newsboys
8. Big Daddy Weave
9. Brandon Heath
10. TobyMac

Billboard’s Best of the 2000s: Christian Songs
1. “Word of God Speak” – MercyMe
2. “My Savior, My God” – Aaron Shust
3. “By Your Side” – Tenth Avenue North
4. “The Motions” – Matthew West
5. “Give Me Your Eyes” – Brandon Heath
6. “East to West” – Casting Crowns
7. “Blessed Be Your Name” – tree63
8. “There Will Be A Day” – Jeremy Camp
9. “You Are My King (Amazing Lov… – Newsboys
10. “Voice of Truth” – Casting Crowns

Although I continue to observe pressure within our politically correct society to offer equal time to all religions, thanks to these artists, Christian radio continues to flourish.

According to the National Religious Broadcasters, a Virginia-based trade group, Christian contemporary music is one of the top three fastest growing genres. According to Arbitron ratings over the last decade, religious radio resulted in steady growth, while other formats, such as classical, oldies and rock declined.

Many of the artists who dominated the decade did so because they’re great writers and artists and their record companies invested the time and money to support them. However, with the potential death and decay of the CD, what will the next decade unravel? Much of the industry depends upon CD distribution. Scans from CD sales help place artists onto the charts. How will all this affect the current day record company?

Will Internet radio begin to take market share on traditional radio? Will music downloads continue to offer opportunity to the great unknown and under-funded? What piece will YouTube, Tangle and other video sharing sites play?

An interesting tidbit of information is the quality of an MP3 file. It is not very good quality, just very compact. A song on a CD is about ten times larger than its standard MP3 counterpart. However, the quality of the CD has been within the same standard for many years. With the low cost of terabyte hard drives well under $100, and larger, cheaper Internet bandwidth, I predict that the new digital age will offer more studio quality media than the current 44.1K, 16-bit compact disk standard.

New standards equate to a fresh wave of re-selling previous music libraries, something the music industry would gratefully welcome.

I want to thank this group of the decade for furthering Christian radio, and therefore the word of Christ. Continue to show the way for Christian artists for the coming decades!

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