First of all, a bonus point to anyone who can identify the band who recorded the song Buy My Record
I'm not sure what to think about this
. For those who don't want to register with the Dallas News, here's a synopsis: Christian kids are downloading Christian music illegally -- and some claim it's for witnessing purposes.
Let's not even mention the whole "Thou shalt not steal" issue, which should be obvious to all. If we want to encourage quality Christian music, these people have got to be paid. The system is flawed, I agree
. Until we have a better system, though, we need to make sure that Christian artists are encouraged to keep on doing Christian music. The temptation is too big for the better artists to head over to a mainstream label, get bigger distribution and better sales, and make more money. Justify it by "reaching a new audience with our message". Then, the message gets lost.
We support local churches with our offerings. We support Christian (and non-sectarian) charities with our donations. Why can't we support Christian artists with our money? Or better -- why don't we?
I hear criticism of the CCM/Christian rock industry all the time -- "they aren't as good, as professional, as secular artists". Know why? Because the artists can't afford to stay in the Christian industry. Even Carman, who has done his thing for years on love offerings and prayer, is having a hard time right now. We have to give these folks whatever support we can.
Of course, Christian labels need to stop following their mainstream counterparts and actually pay their artists a decent royalty on album sales. When I buy a $16 CD, I expect the artist to get more than $1-2 from it -- especially since we all know how much (little) CDs cost!
I have a suggestion for right now: IF you burn a Christian song (and this can work for mainstream music, too), find out the mailing address for the band. Send them a fan letter, and tell them you burned the song. Then put a dollar in the envelope for each song you burned. Still cheaper than a whole CD. And the artist is getting some support from the fans. Maybe they can even afford to stay in the "ministry".
Christian arts as a ministry? That's a whole different rant. Maybe next week.