State of Play #005 "Unappealing and Nothing New" (Part 2) by Andrew Funderburk on 2015-03-06 10:44:54
Last week the basic question was asked, “Why does there appear to be a creativity gap between Christian and mainstream music?” There were several questions that I listed that have not only been asked by myself, but they are also questions that have come from others directed towards me.
There are two questions I would like to address in this follow-up to last week’s article. These questions are as follows: “Why does Christian music [specifically] on Christian radio all sound the same?” and “Why does there appear to be a creativity gap between Christian music and mainstream music?”
Both of these questions can be paired together for this, because from my perspective the creativity gap and Christian music sounding the same, in my mind, both come down to the same thing. What I’m about to say does come from my perspective, and I would like to add to that, my perspective is limited.
When I listen to mainstream radio, unless it’s a genre-specific station, I hear a lot of different musical sounds.
Some songs are combinations of different genres. I hear a variety of topics expressed in different ways. Break-ups. Sex. Money. Love. Dealing with heartache.
Due to the fact that there are multiple genres played, along with multiple messages, mainstream music does have a greater reach. In listening to Christian radio, I hear contemporary pop music. The message I hear is about God, how great He is, our identity in Him, etc. In no way do I discount the messages that are being sung, but there are only a select group of people who will listen to contemporary pop for extended periods of time.
I think it would also be safe to say that there is an almost even smaller percentage in the world who would take the time to listen to the message that Christian music has. That is the trailhead of why Christian radio almost all sounds the same. They have a very limited audience with a much more limited radio reach.
Despite Christian music being about God, this is the job of those who sing, write, and perform. The way they make money is through their music. Drawing that into the greater picture, we have to realize that Christian artists will more than likely mold their sound to what will help them sell their music. Summed up in one sentence, Christian artists sound the same, due to the limited audience that they know will buy what they release.
Should Christians be honing in on just one group of people within their musical reach? How can Christians experiment more with their music? I know of some who are, but I don’t know if I can answer those questions fully; however, it does start with those in the industry who can bring answers, as well as, moving beyond safe borders to truly use the gifts that God has given them.