2006 a Good Year for Christian Music

Gospel album sales went up and digital sales continued to rise in 2006, making it a good year for Christian/Gospel music, according to the Gospel Music Association (GMA) and Nielsen Christian SoundScan.

Reports follow the announcement of 2006 year-end sales data for the 52-week period ending Dec. 31, 2006.

“2006 was a good year for Christian/Gospel music. Album sales were up, albeit slightly; digital sales continue to rise and most importantly, the impact of the Gospel through music reached beyond even what our sales reveal. Everywhere you look, in books, games, TV and movies, music that is inspired by faith seems more prevalent than ever before,” said John W. Styll, president and CEO of the GMA. “There may be many reasons why this is true, but I think chief among them is that people seem to be drawn to the inspiring and compassionate message of Gospel music amid uncertain times.”

Christian/Gospel music sales in 2006 represent music that is sold at both Christian and mainstream retail and is compiled by the GMA from Nielsen Christian SoundScan, the data information system that tracks point-of-purchase sales of recorded music product.

In the first six months of 2006, Gospel music sales grew 11.6 percent, compared to the 4 percent decline during the same time frame in 2005.

Meanwhile, gospel remains the only genre categorized by lyrical content, a mixed bag that ranges from praise and worship artists to hard-core metal bands. Despite its collective success, Christian music accounts for only 6 percent of the overall music industry.

Christian artists Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, Kutless, and Yolanda Adams were among the top-selling artists of 2006.