The Gospel Music Association demonstrates its business bias throughout its 2004 industry overview.
Gospel music, which includes a wide variety of genres from Southern Gospel to Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), sold almost a billion dollars of product last year. Album sales have grown 10% from 42 million units in 1998 to over 47 million units in 2003 compared to a 10% decline in overall music sales for the same time period.
19 albums went multi-platinum (2 million units or more). 52 albums went platinum (1 million units) and 119 went gold (500,000 units).
This was an interesting list in terms of lifetime album sales:
- Amy Grant: 24 million units
- Kirk Franklin: 13 million units
- Sandi Patty: 11 million units
- CeCe Winans: 11 million units
- Michael W. Smith: 10 million units
- Steven Curtis Chapman: 9 million units
- Point of Grace: 8 million units
- P.O.D.: 7 million units
- Jars of Clay: 6 million units
- dc talk: 6 million units
- Jaci Velasquez: 5 million units
- Newsboys: 4 million units
- Third Day: 4 million units
- Bob Carlisle: 4 million units
You can read the entire report here. Little wonder the secular labels bought out the major Christian record labels. Watch the money. Or consider Steve Camp’s interesting take on the need for reformation of CCM here.
Either way, the industry is moving millions and that can prove tempting to people motivated by money.