Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Contemporary Christian music
Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), or Christian pop/rock music, is a sub-genre of Christian music. It is called "contemporary" because it is distinct from traditional Christian gospel music and southern gospel music. Because it can be difficult to define what is and what is not considered Contemporary Christian Music, the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (2002) defines it as "music that appeals to self-identified fans of contemporary Christian music on account of a perceived connection to what they regard as Christianity".
Contemporary Christian music first came onto the scene of popular music during the Jesus Movement revival of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Unlike traditional or southern gospel music, this new "Jesus Music" was birthed out of rock and roll. The pioneers of this movement included 2nd Chapter of Acts, Andrae Crouch and the Disciples, Phil Keaggy, Love Song, Barry McGuire, and Larry Norman.
This small culture of Jesus music had expanded into a multimillion-dollar industry by the 1980s. With much more varied styles of music, and better quality songwriting and recording, artists like Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Petra, and Stryper were successfully raising the standards in CCM. Unfortunately, however, most of these artists had difficulty finding mainstream radio airplay, even when singing about nonreligious subject matter. In most cases, radio stations simply typecast artists with a contemporary Christian catalog, and those artists received little to no mainstream airplay.
By the 1990s, though, many Christian artists rebelled against the imposed stereotypes of the industry. Artists such as the Lost Dogs, Starflyer 59, Vigilantes of Love, and Joy Electric were creating compellingly original music, and some artists were even leading the pack in certain genres (third wave ska and rapcore, for example).
Also, beginning in the mid-90s with releases from Amy Grant, dc Talk, and Jars of Clay, the lines between CCM and mainstream music were beginning to blur. Several artists found "crossover" success and received Top 40 radio play. Now, in the 21st century, Contemporary Christian Music is more popular than ever, and artists such as P.O.D., Sixpence None The Richer, Switchfoot, and MercyMe are finding success in the mainstream music industry, while more traditional CCM acts like Michael W Smith are still selling millions of albums. Now, Christian music sales exceed those for classical, jazz, and New Age music combined.
- "It is not my view that the Gospel should cause all the arts to be struck down and disappear; on the contrary, I should like to see all the arts, and especially music, used in the service of Him who gave and created them." - Martin Luther
- "What's striking is how much worthwhile music has gone unheard by mainstream audiences-- and, in some cases, by most Christian listeners as well." - Barry Alfonso
- "Why aren't the church's theological leaders more invested in what seems to have captured the attention of its people?" - Mark Allen Powell
- CCM Sales for 2004 are projected at $1 billion. (GMA)
- For every 10 Country albums sold in the U.S., there are 7 Gospel albums sold. (Nielsen SoundScan)
See List of CCM artists.
- Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) Magazine
- A Decade of Jesus Music, 1969-1979
- HM - The Hard Music Magazine
- Jesus Freak Hideout
- The Phantom Tollbooth
- Real Magazine
- Relevant Magazine
- Remembering... The Jesus Movement
- Absolute Records
- Ardent Records
- Atlantic Records
- BEC Recordings
- Broken Records
- Cross Driven Records
- Cross Movement Records
- Curb Records
- Essential Records
- Fervent Records
- Flicker Records
- Floodgate Records
- Forefront Records
- Galaxy21 Music
- Gotee Records
- Gray Dot Records
- INO Records
- Inpop Records
- Reunion Records
- Rocketown Records
- S/R/E Recordings
- Sparrow Records
- Tooth And Nail Records
- Word Records
- Alfonso, Barry. The Billboard Guide to Contemporary Christian Music. Billboard Books, 2002.
- Di Sabatino, David. The Jesus People Movement: An Annotated Bibliography and General Resource. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1999.
- Granger, Thom. The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music. Nashville: CCM Books, 2001.
- Howard, Jay R and John M Streck. Apostles of Rock: The Splintered World of Contemporary Christian Music. Lexington: The University of Kentucky Press, 1999.
- Joseph, Mark. The Rock and Roll Rebellion: Why People of Faith Abandoned Rock Music-- And Why They're Coming Back. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1999.
- Powell, Mark Allan. The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music. Hendrickson, 2002.
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