The popular “Christian Music” magazine is changing its M.O. according to this recent press release:
CCM Magazine, Christian music’s preeminent publication, is changing its definition of “Christian music” with its May 2007 issue to raise the profile of independent and general market artists of faith.
“This month marks a historic step for our magazine, and, as a result, the fans and the industry we serve,” said CCM Editor Jay Swartzendruber. “We’re going to start mixing indie and general market Christians such as The Fray, Mary J. Blige and Sufjan Stevens in with artists with traditional Christian label affiliation. Rather than define ‘Christian music’ just by its label or distribution, we’re now defining it as Christian worldview music. CCM Magazine has always taken its role as a leader seriously, and we believe this is the way of the future.”
Rob Moll over at Christianity Today has an interesting response to this announcement. He writes:
As if the genre weren’t confused enough, this is going to clarify things? . . . I always thought that bands avoided the CCM label because some people think most CCM music is not worth listening to. With this expanded view of CCM, won’t bands made of Christians who want to avoid the CCM scene only work harder to avoid it?
Moll is probably correct about certain Christian artists who will continue conscientiously to avoid the CCM label. But I for one am glad that CCM Magazine recognizes the folly of acting as if music which is produced by “Christian” record labels (whatever that means!) is the only music that is Christian. I don’t think it’s proper for anyone to speak of “Christian” as a genre. It’s not. It may be descriptive of lyrical content or of those who create and make music, but “Christian” is not a genre.