NASHVILLE (BP) – The Christian music industry represents a multi-million dollar market comprising a wide range of individuals, from Bible believers to non-religious.
Spotify recently posted on Fox News a list of their top 10 Christian songs to stream from 2019.
With the exception of three songs by singer / songwriter Lauren Daigle, the roster is made up of songs geared towards the worship setting of the congregation.
Daigle grabbed the # 1 spot with his song “You Say” from his 2018 album “Look Up Child”. His songs “Rescue” and “Look Up Child” were also on the list at numbers 6 and 8, respectively.
The other seven songs on Spotify’s list are primarily sung in corporate places of worship and recorded by bands rather than individual artists.
Cory Asbury’s “Reckless Love” is the only other song to make an individual artist’s list. It has also become a popular choice for corporate worship in many churches.
“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Australian cult group Hillsong UNITED placed third. The band had two other songs on the list with “So Will I (100 Billion X)” at # 5 and “Whole Heart (Hold Me Now) Live” at # 10.
Elevation Worship, a cult group based in North Carolina, landed two spots with “O Come to the Altar (Live)” (No. 4) and “Do It Again” (No. 9).
Hillsong Worship, another worship and brand group from Hillsong Church in Australia, was in 7th place with “Who You Say I Am Live”.
Mike Harland, director of LifeWay Worship, said these top 10 songs provide insight into the Christian music industry as a whole.
“The gap between what is listened to – streaming, radio – and what is sung in our churches continues to narrow as it has over the past 20 years,” said Harland. “Modern artists continue to pursue the corporate song of praise, and these songs focus more and more on the individual’s experience with Christ rather than on the character of Christ himself.”
Harland said the Spotify list in a general sense represents the influence of modern Christian music on corporate and congregational worship choices.
Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI), used to generate income for Christian artists based on the use of lyrics, may partly explain why individual artists focus on demand for songs that fit the cult model of the ‘business, Harland said.
“The cynic in me would wonder if the fact that the revenue from the CCLI, the license to reproduce the praise lyrics, is one of the most predictable sources of income in Christian music explains why some artists pursue these kinds of songs. , humanly of course, “Harland said. “I certainly don’t want to question the motives here, it’s just interesting to note.”
But with bands such as Hillsong UNITED and Elevation Worship joined on the pitch by artists like Lauren Daigle and Cory Asbury, the level of musical excellence and creativity only diversifies and flourishes, noted Harland.
“A practical result is that our corporate worship has become more art oriented and our artists have become more enterprise oriented as modern Christian music continues to lead the Sunday morning concert list,” said Harland. “Concert halls become sanctuaries and shrines become concert halls.”
Tess Schoonhoven is a writer for Baptist Press.