Friday, 23 February 2007

A PR disaster for the Christian music industry

This afternoon I was listening to the excellent call-in radio programme, Australia Talks. The topic was contemporary rock music. With intense fascination and amusement, I listened as one caller from a Christian band attempted to commit PR-suicide. The caller stated the name of his band, and went on to make these remarks:

“I play in a band that goes with the Christian message…. We sell on the internet…. There’s six of us in the band, and in the last five years, we’re literally all millionaires…. I’m not a Christian, and none of the members in my band are either. But it’s a bit like The Wiggles. If you put yourself out there and find a market, you cater to it, and it’s as simple as that….”

Taken aback, the host of the programme asked: “So you’re a Christian band doing well on the Christian rock circuit – well obviously doing very well if you’re millionaires – but none of you are Christians?”

And he replied: “Well, it’s a market, that’s all you need to know really. You know, you cater to it. You write your songs to it. And that’s all there is to it. It’s no different to writing a jingle for Marmite…. I don’t really see why I need to be a Christian to play Christian music. If they want to buy it, that’s all that needs to be known.”

I’m sure the other five millionaire-members of the band will be thrilled at the publicity this generates!

23 Comments:

kim fabricius said...

So the Christian music industry is no different from the tele-evangelist industry then. :)

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

At least this explains the poor theology in almost all "contemporary Christian music."
Sure, there was also some bad theology in the "Jesus Rock" of the '60s Jesus Freaks--the roots of the modern Christian music industry. But no one had to ask whether Randy Stonehill or Larry Norman were believers--and SOME of their music had good theology.

Today's stuff is so thin and watery. Now I know why.

michael jensen said...

So are you gonna name the band?

Name and shame I say.

Though, if there can be theologians who aren't believers, why not have christian musicians who aren't?!

rindy said...

It's wrong but is it really a surprise? Don't we always have to weed through what is true and what is just someone out to make a buck, get attention, increase power...just another example of what's out there

Arni Zachariassen said...

What?! I'm in two Christian bands and we make NO money! I've spent so much money on the bands with little and no return. I'd like to hear what this guy is doing differently.

I'd also like to know whether it was a prank call or not. I've met many Christian bands from around the world, both new ones and veterans, and none have been millionaires as far as I know. There are most likely some, like Michael W. Smith, DC Talk, Kirk Franklin and the so on, but most of the bands I know are not wealthy by pop music standards.

Shane said...

did you guys ever see that episode of southpark?

good times.

Jim said...

Ah, bah, humbug. The only real music worth listening to is Classical / Baroque. All the rest of it is Dreck. Christian rock is to music what hemorrhoids are to relaxation.

dan said...

Hey, I think Michael Jensen actually raises a pretty interesting point with his comparison to theologians who aren't Christians. Assuming that there is some (or more!) benefit to be garnered from studying the works of theologians and biblical scholars who "aren't believers," then is it all that bad to listen to Christian music played by people who aren't believers? (Although, for the record, I tend to agree with Jim's assessment of "Christian rock.")

Chad said...

I can't comprehend why the name of the band isn't given, unless this is another one for snopes.com.

james said...

Man...this has got to be a hoax. not saying that this can't happen, but I'm listening to the broadcast right now and this guy says his name is david and he plays in a band called "Second Coming." I can't find any info on an a Christian band by this name other than an outfit out of seattle. And there is no member named david in this seattle band. Sounds way too much like like a south parkesque-type gag.

Do I think this could totally happen? Absolutely . . . but as of yet, we have no smoking gun.

peace,

Chad said...

There's this group http://www.secondcomingmusic.com/welcome.html but they don't seem to fit the bill. I found a Seattle Washington, USA band of the same name, but again, it doesn't fit.

My thoughts on the matter at this time, absent some evidence, is that this is a hoax, a joke or some other fakery.

Macht said...

Maybe the caller didn't give the real name of the band. If I were making millions of dollars by lying to people, I wouldn't hesitate to lie once more. The only Australian Christian rock band I can think of at the moment is Newsboys.

And let me just say this. I have a close acquaintance who is in the Christian rock industry and because of this I've met a lot of bands. Most of them, even some quite famous ones (by Christian rock standards) are not rich at all. A band would have to be around for quite a while in order to get anywhwere near to being a millionaire. So I guarantee that 95% or more of these bands are not in it for the money. The record labels, however, are a different story.

james said...

Yeah, there's no way a no-name Christian band called Second Coming is making millions, if we can't find any good info on them. Maybe your Amy Grant and Smitty types are, but this guy has got to be a spoof caller.

joel hunter said...

Yes, Shane! As with many of the best S.P. episodes, the absurd premises are not far at all from what is believable. I think the caller to that radio show was none other than Cartman himself.

jimbo said...

I can see a Christian version of "Spinal Tap" in the future.

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

I can see a Christian version of "Spinal Tap" in the future.

But, it's an 11, see? I SOOO died laughing over the Spinal Tap mockumentary and I'm not a big rock fan. While I don't share Jim West's view that Classical/Baroque is the ONLY good music, I tend to think that most rock peaked in the early '70s and has been going downhill ever since.

Ben Myers said...

The question of whether it's a hoax is very interesting. I must admit, my own assumption wasn't that it was a hoax, but simply that he was exaggerating his band's success. When he said "we're all millionaires", my wife remarked: "Oh, people in bands are always lying about how successful they are!"

Tim said...

Or maybe, pop music is like the eucharist - ex opere operato? It works regardless of the state of the soul of the person "performing" the rite...

thunderbeard said...

Aside from theh amount of money being mentioned, I have no problem believing this in the least. I've known a couple of bands in the Christian music industry (they were sincere, honest believers and also didn't want to be part of the industry, they just accidentally happened to walk into it), and I heard story after story attesting to the fact that there are plenty of apostates/nonbelievers in the most popular Christian bands.

I've been incredibly disgusted by the Christian music industry for some time, and the more I learn, the more pissed off I get (pardon the strong language).

One Salient Oversight said...

"Quality Christian Music". If only.

Arni Zachariassen said...

"Second Coming"? There's no doubt in my mind that it's a spoof. Kind of a funny one too :)

I got over the whole music industry thing a long time ago - the Christian one as well. We live in a fallen world and everything with a little bit of potential will be made into an industry eventually. You just have to ignore it and dig out the good music. And, if you're a musician or do something music related, try your hardest not to get sucked in. That goes for both Christian and non-.

thunderbeard said...

yeah, but the christian music industry is more of a problem than just people creating bad music. i know people who have had their faith and life shattered by the christian music industry. they weren't sucked in easily and tried hard not to be.

but it still ruined their lives.

that said, i would almost guarantee that this specific person wasn't serious. that doesn't change the fact that his comments ring true.

t-hor said...

Girls and Boys,
What is the lesson we learn from this story? Maybe that discernment, aside from being a spiritual gift, might involve the least bit of investigation. The fact that the originator of this tale didn’t mention the name of the band makes the story suspect from the outset. What is the reason for not naming the band from the outset? They’re a public entity if they exist and even in the Christian realm, critique and accountability go with naming names, giving dates, documentation, etc. Otherwise, it’s just suburban legend naivety. The very thing that allowed Mike Warnke to dupe us for so many years. Kudos to those who looked for facts to back up the story.

Post a Comment

New book

Archive

Contact

Although I'm not always able to reply to all emails, please feel free to contact me.

Faith and Theology © 2008. Template by Dicas Blogger.

TOPO