Recent Discussions on the State of Christian Music in the West

Zac HicksHymns Movement News & Reviews, Worship Theology & ThoughtLeave a Comment

As of late, there have been some very important reflections on the state of Christian music (whatever you think of the phrase, I’m using it as shorthand).  Two weeks ago, I had a face-to-face discussion with a man who’s been in the industry for quite some time, working for some pretty influential major labels.  For an industry-insider, he was surprisingly blunt about the industry, sharing a lot of critique centering around basically two realities (which many people have pointed out): (1) for much of the industry, the bottom line is the dollar; (2) the industry is unfortunately interested in celebrity-making and therefore have certain criteria for how they select artists.

Several industry insiders and outsiders have been talking in the last few months with some very important observations.  I’ll highlight three.

Bobby Gilles – My Song in the Night
“Can We Trust the Contemporary Worship Industry”
Thorough and balanced reflections on the state of the industry, ultimately concluding that it is neither completely guilty nor totally innocent. 

Michael Gungor
“Zombies, Wine, and Christian Music”
A successful artist from within the industry (signed with Integrity) prophetically rails against the industry in a post laced with cynicism.    

Bruce Benedict – Cardiphonia
“Observations on the New Hymns Movement”
 ( Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 )
In preparation for a discussion at the Calvin Symposium, Benedict put together some thoughts about the emergence of the rediscovery of hymns and the retuning of them among emerging adult generations.  Among other things, his reflections emphasize how the movement emerged as a reaction to the mainstream industry.  Part 3 is the most intriguing in this respect, because he highlights, ultimately, that this reaction cannot, in and of itself, solve the problem, because the retuned hymns movement needs to be complemented with other aspects of church music.  

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