Success in the Christian Music Industry – Sellout to Greed or Need to Succeed?

Abbie Stancato of Rockin' God's HouseI recently read a blog that referred to Christian artists joining the secular world of Christian music as greedy. Is it true? It depends on the artist.

The Christian music industry is run by the same corporate structure and (in many cases) by the same record companies as its secular counterparts. However, just because the record companies are run as part of a secular machine, should we be judging the heart of an artist who wants to be financially sustained in the Christian music industry? No!

There is a bigger issue here for all recording artists. Never forget your goal!

I have worked with some well-known Christian artists who may talk the talk on stage, but rarely speak of Christ when not center stage. Why? How can someone be so blessed and yet so oblivious to the reality of the status God has provided? Because they are so caught up in the demands of touring that they forget how and why they got there. I work part time on staff at a church as a music director. It is very easy to show up after months of playing a similar rotation of songs each week and begin to treat it as just another job. Monotony, boredom, frustration with policy, volunteers, and restrictions may cause faith to change or fail. One day we wake up, go to work, and forget our initial calling to serve. Each week I show up for a service I remind myself and my team that we are there for those who will walk through the doors that morning. We affect the transformation of souls. We are God’s instruments!

Frequently it is complacency and apathy which causes a secular world to formulate their judgments against Christians in general.

Back to topic… Yes, the music industry is secular. It’s all about tickets, touring, CD sales, online sales and radio airplay. The industry is filled with bean counters who are accountable to stock holders who demand a profit. As a new or established musician, you must remember your goal – eternal salvation for everyone we encounter. Survival in the industry is difficult. The industry is fast changing and the age of digital piracy has changed forever the methods required for artists to survive.

These corporate giants may be secular, but they do provide a platform for Christian artists to reach the masses. Christian music and lyrics can and will change the lives of those who listen and observe. I have spoken to established Christian artists who provide story after story of fans whose lives were forever transformed because of a song they heard or a concert they attended.

Artists should not feel guilty for earning a living doing what they love while spreading the word. Only God knows the heart and soul of those out there representing. Live for Christ, pray often, follow His path, and enjoy the financial rewards if you are blessed to receive them. While the industry is secular, we can be the light—an example. We may not change the structure of the Christian music industry, but we will affect some!

To paraphrase a popular story… A man is walking along a beach.  For as far as the eye can see there are multitudes of starfish washed up to the shore. As he is throwing them back into the water, he is asked, “Why bother? You can’t save them all.” The man smiles, picks up another starfish, and throws it back in the water. He replies, “No, but I just made a difference to that one.”

We can’t save them all, but we can make a difference one at a time!