Mark Joseph is president of MJM Entertainment Group and worked in the entertainment business as a journalist and executive. Joseph says younger Christian artists are having unprecedented success as mainstream musicians. In turn, their songs are having an impact on popular culture in ways that contemporary Christian music never could. Joseph is the author of The Rock & Roll Rebellion and most recently, Faith, God and Rock 'n Roll: How People of Faith Are Transforming American Popular Music. He lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and children.

You say that the exciting news in Christian music is that Christians are performing as mainstream acts. However, the Christian music industry gets most of the attention because of its sales figures. You say those figures aren't so accurate as they seem.

Every year press releases are issued from Nashville saying that Christian music is growing by x percent. It's fascinating because, on the one hand, those numbers are greatly exaggerated and on the other hand, sales are even more than that.

The numbers that show growth in Christian music unfortunately are obtained by counting records that really wouldn't be considered Christian music. Things like the O Brother, Where Art Thou? record, a POD record, and Mannheim Steamroller. These records, which are used to tabulate sales of Christian music, by any standard, are not [Christian music].

Christian music, as a genre, is probably actually in decline, if you use real numbers. What's exploding is the idea of Christians playing rock music in mainstream America.

Only four of the top ten CCM bestsellers are really CCM?

It's silly to play these numbers games and say Christian music has grown by x percent when it really hasn't. The big story ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

The Dick Staub Interview
Dick Staub was host of a eponymous daily radio show on Seattle's KGNW and is the author of Too Christian, Too Pagan and The Culturally Savvy Christian. He currently runs The Kindlings, an effort to rekindle the creative, intellectual, and spiritual legacy of Christians in culture. His interviews appeared weekly on our site from 2002 to 2004.
Previous The Dick Staub Interview Columns: