The expansion of sales of all forms of Christian music documented in new article.

US TRADE magazine Christian Retailing ran a major feature on the growth of Christian music in its February 21st issue. Titled The Gospel Music Explosion, the article chronicled the music's rise "from humble beginnings centred around hymns and Southern and black gospel styles to a billion dollar a year business." The article by DeWayne Hamby went on to chronicle the changing sales patterns in the USA for Christian music. "While 20 years ago CBA-market sales accounted for 90 per cent of all Christian music sales, that share has dropped to just 37 per cent while 57 per cent is accounted for by sales at general market stores such as Wal-Mart and Target, according to the 2004 report by the Gospel Music Association (GMA). However, observers note that the sales currently tracked include recordings of inspirational albums by mainstream artists that CBA retailers may not stock."

The article went on to document the music's history and recent trends such as digital downloading. Amongst the figures quoted in the article were Southern gospel's Bill Gaither, chairman of EMI CMG Bill Hearn and CCM star Amy Grant. Grant is pleased that some of the new artists coming onto the scene are not signing with the big Christian companies. She said, "They would rather do independent records and sell their music through the internet. The era of a few people getting a whole lot of promotion is now giving way to a lot more bands getting a chance. That might be a return to how it used to be be - more about word-of-mouth, discovering artists on your own instead of (their music) being forced down your throat." CR

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