Sales of gospel music were down 5.2 percent at the end of 2003, according to Nielsen SoundScan. However, John W. Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association (GMA), predicts 2004 will see a turnaround.
"With the overall economy showing very positive signs of growth, and with the tide slowly reversing on the piracy issue, we have every reason to be confident going into the New Year," said Styll. "There are still challenges ahead, but the outlook is brighter, and more importantly, we know that Gospel music is having a strong impact in every segment of our society."
Compared to 2002, gospel music sales increased 6.7 percent in 2003. In 2003, gospel music continued to cross markets as more than 60 percent of its sales occurred in the general market.
"The second half of the year was historic in terms of crossover success. In the past, gospel music has gained general market prominence in one-shot situations, like Gods Propertys 'Stomp' and Bob Carlisle's "Butterfly Kisses.' This year, we've had several artists, each with unique music styles, penetrate the mainstream in a significant way," said Styll.
The top ten best-selling gospel albums of 2003 were:
1. Worship Together: I Could Sing of Your Love Forever by various artists (Sparrow/WorshipTogether)
2. Almost There by MercyMe (INO)
3. Wonder Whats Next by Chevelle (Integrity/Sony)
4. Stacie Orrico by Stacie Orrico (ForeFront/Virgin)
5. Offerings II: All I Have To Give by Third Day (Essential)
6. WoW Worship Yellow by various artists (Provident)
7. Beautiful Letdown by Switchfoot (Sparrow/Columbia)
8. Payable on Death by P.O.D. (Atlantic)
9. WoW Gospel 2003 by various artists (Verity)
10. Rise and Shine by Randy Travis (Word/Curb/Warner Bros.)