Generating about a half a billion dollars, Christian music sales as a percentage of all music receipts rose to 7.2 percent last year from 6.8 percent in 2008. At the same time sales of other music saw losses.
Midway through the evening, former heavy metal band Korn’s lead guitarist, Brian “Head” Welch, brings down the house with his instrumental technique and athleticism.
Toward the end of the night, bluegrass icon Ricky Skaggs sings his new single.
The lineup suggests the Grammys. But the music signals a more heavenly intent.
This is the 41st Annual Dove Awards, which air Sunday night on the Gospel Music Channel. It is Christian music’s big-night equivalent to the Grammy Awards.
From rap to pop, hip hop to rock, soul to Southern gospel, contemporary Christian music encompasses every musical style and is eking its way into the mainstream, and vice versa.
It’s become a “marketplace ministry,” says Skaggs, who’s won two Dove Awards along with a slew of Grammys, Country Music and Bluegrass trophies.
“Two weeks ago we played a Texas tour,” Skaggs says, “and on Tuesday night we played a church in Amarillo. Then on Thursday night we played the oldest dance hall in Texas in Brownsville…. People standing up for hours drinking and having a good time listening to us play bluegrass and doing gospel.”
Although the Gospel Music Channel is not a major network – it is seen in only about 48 million homes — the music itself is starting to generate some impressive numbers.
Editor’s Note: In case you missed the show last night, here are some major winners:
Spanish Language Album: Kari Jobe for her album Le Canto
Producer of the Year: Jason Ingram and Rusty Varenkamp
Songwriter of the Year: Jennie Lee Riddle
Country Album of the Year: Diamond Rio for The Reason
Song of the Year: Tenth Avenue North for By Your Side
Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year: Jars of Clay, The Long Fall Back To Earth
Group of the Year: Needtobreathe
New Artists of the Year: Sidewalk Prophets
Male Vocalist of the Year: Brandon Heath
Female Vocalist of the Year: Francesca Battistelli
Artist of the Year: Casting Crowns