CCM Redefines “Christian Music”

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.

9 Responses to CCM Redefines “Christian Music”

  1. Jada Bown Swanson May 10, 2007 at 1:38 pm #

    BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Denny, I completely agree.

    Mainly b/c I have been told so often ‘if you don’t sing ‘Christian’ music you are not being a good steward of your talent.’ And I know I am not alone.

    I am happy that they will be covering CHRISTIANS aka Christ-followers in other genres, as opposed to pointing fingers at them and basically saying, ‘Sinner, you, for not singing Christian music.’

    Moll might be correct in his assumption, but at least we are not saying that, ‘if you are a Christian with musical talents the only opportunity you have to work, make a living, is IF you are the one of millions who get a record contract within the CCM industry, and then are actually able to make a living by doing so.’

    There are many opportunities for Christian musicians/artists. Yes, we have to be cautious of content and choices we make, but that is true in any profession.

    God has literally dropped many opportunities into my lap that were not ‘Christian’ per se but definintely not situations that would make me compromise my faith, etc. kwim? I was (am) salt and light in the darkness, which from my study of the Word of God is what I am called to be as a Christian aka Christ-follower.

    BRAVO for CCM in my opinion.

  2. dennyrburk May 10, 2007 at 1:40 pm #

    Jada,

    I was hoping you would chime in. I think we’re on the same page on this one.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  3. Tony May 10, 2007 at 1:47 pm #

    If they are going to go by worldview they may have to exclude some of the CCM artist they previously promoted?

    Unless they define “Christian Worldview” as someone who says, “Jesus is alright by me.”

  4. dennyrburk May 10, 2007 at 1:56 pm #

    Tony,

    Your question is right on point. CCM will now have to do some theology in order to distinguish the Christian from the non-Christian. What theology will be the basis for their editorial decisions?

    Thanks,
    Denny

  5. Paul May 10, 2007 at 6:25 pm #

    Hopefully, this will bring CCM (the musical, ahem, genre) out of the gutter, musically speaking.

    It’s one thing to be considered decent when being compared to other sub-par bands that couldn’t cut it outside of a church basement. However, it’s a different ball game when your “competition” is suddenly Mary J. Blige, U2, T-Bone Burnett and (believe it or not) Megadeth.

  6. Jason May 11, 2007 at 7:24 am #

    Someone must be listening and like CCM or else no one would be paying them. I mean, there must be a lot of people that enjoy church basement bands for so many of them to have paying recording contracts. Maybe my economics are wrong.

    Since the post is long buried on page three, I’m waiting for some partial birth abortion statistics. Most data I found on the internet said such statistics aren’t really tracked so Paul, I’m needing your research to be posted for my informational purposes.

  7. Paul May 11, 2007 at 9:02 am #

    Jason,

    first off, are you saying that popularity equals quality?

    Most of the CCM bands I’ve ever seen are knock offs. Knock offs of what’s popular at the moment, or knock offs of other bands that were knock offs in the first place. I’ve yet to see a CCM band that made a serious musical statement. The closest the entire movement has come is Phil Keaggy, and even he seems embarrassed by his talent.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but I would L-O-V-E for someone to prove me wrong about this. Because I’d rather listen to someone singing about God than singing about drugs, girls or whatever. But where is the Christian Zappa, Grateful Dead or Steely Dan? They don’t exist because so many of the people within the CCM movement must think that a great message can negate awful music.

    As for the partial birth abortion thing: I never promised statistics, and everything I’ve read about statistics re: PBA says that too few of them happen to really know what the purposes are behind them. I said that I had seen anecdotes about the procedure that were medical necessities, and I simply wondered what the percentages were regarding such things.

    When I have more than 10 minutes, I will go dig them up again.

  8. Chad Ethridge May 11, 2007 at 9:38 am #

    If a Jewish person sings country music does that make the music Jewish or Country?

    If an Hindu business man starts a business company does that make his company Hindu?

    The Christian label is too broad.

  9. Paul May 11, 2007 at 10:16 am #

    1) ask Kinky Friedman.

    2) depends on the business.

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