Why Is Black Gospel Music Sales Down?

Reader is Black Gospel Music about to go under? Everyone is talking about how gospel music is going under and it's on it's last leg because of  poor record sales. The sales for Black Gospel music are down by 60% and the Contemporary Christian music is up by 40%. What with that?  Lately I have been watching several videos on individuals speaking on the fact that Gospel Music is at an all time low in sales and many well known Gospel Artists are either tweeting or posting their frustration out to the public on the subject matter. Thursday night by way of social media (Periscope) Pastor Deitrick Haddon and Larry D. Reid both gave their opinion and take on the decline of Gospel Music.   I haven't said much about this so let me give my two cents. Gospel Music no longer speaks to me, it sound is very generic, for lack of a better word.

While I 100% agree that music should be purchased and supported. I have to flip the script and fuss back at the Gospel Artists.  When are you guys going to start interacting with your public?  When are you going to fuss at all the Black Gospel Radio Stations that play your music, but NEVER announce to their audience who they just played?  Seriously, If you have a FM or AM Gospel Radio Station in your area of the country, when was the last time you heard every song that was played be mentioned by an ON AIR RADIO PERSONALITY 24/7??? The only time you hear what song was just played is if they either have a Morning Show, Radio Personality speaking live on the air or coming into the station voice tracking their playlist the day prior. Many Gospel Artists have gotten so lazy into thinking their name is all they need to sell CDs!  Hear's a News Flash Black for you Gospel Artists: We are now in a digital age where music is mostly listened to on cell phones and tablets. Even in cars, there is a great increase in plug in adapters to allow bluetooth and headphone jacks to connect mobile devices.

 Lastly, Youtube is your biggest enemy! Millions of Black church goers like myself use this site to play, listen and rip your music faster than any virus outbreak! So until you get on YouTube to put a stop on your music being shared freely to millions with no protection, your CD sales will fall harder each year you release one. Because the consumers new frame of mind and argument to all of you Gospel Artists is "Why should I buy your Album, when I can get it free on YouTube?   With that being said, I still  feel Gospel music is alive and thriving but it won't be for long if some drastic measures aren't taken soon by the artists.   Some have even suggested that Gospel artists need to learned to go beyond radio and sales charts to make it happen, in other word build your own fan base. Thanks Larry D. Reid.
 Check out the Facebook comment below:

The songs that we hear on radio only represents about 5% of the music that is out there. There is another 95% of music we never hear. How do I know this? Well call up the manufacturing company that makes CDs they will tell you that gospel artist are steal manufacturing CDs. They are being sold at concerts, church bookstores, barber and beauty shops, etc.
 These artists need to think outside of the box in order to be successful. Now, let's talk about radio. The reason why the sales of what you are hearing are so low is because, if I can hear the song all day long then why would I buy it? Record labels spend a lot of money on marketing two radio stations in order to get the spends. There is and oversaturation of the same songs on the radio. They have to learn how to create a buzz and force the people to go and get it. But if I can hear it 3 to 5 times in an eight hour period, then I won't go and buy it. You can't get mad at people for not buying the music, if you are going to give it away for free. This is just my two cents. I have a whole lot more to say about this, but I don't want to bore you. Let's just pray for the change to come.


  1. I agree the sales for Black Gospel music are down by 50% and some Gospel Music Artists, still don't think something is wrong....okay we'll keep on with your concerts and charging your high honorariums and watch it delete the opportunities for Black Gospel Artists!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I think Gospel Artist have made a huge mistake. I believe many of them sold out and have found themselves out in the cold. The music is not selling and the artist are feeling the effects of it.
    For the past 20 years or so gospel artist have operated under the guise " we have to change the music to reach the world." Well... apparently the "world" is not listening or buying.
    I have witnessed many gospel artist who become rude and condescending when the christian community questioned the motives behind their connections with the secular world or the direction of their music. Now, as Malcolm X said, the chickens have come home to roost.
    I believe you can be creative and entertaining without shunning the hand that supports your music. Artist must develop the testicular fortitude to have standards and a conviction not to compromise.
    I do agree with Derrick about radio and worship music. Everything is Cookie cutter. We are occupied with having our records sound CCM while our heritage and roots are lost. The average "worshipper" does not even know hymns. Of course they know To GOD Be the Glory because it's part of a praise break.
    If you research who are the biggest supporters of blues, jazz, and 70's funk it's not black people. YouTube a Mavis Staples concert. The audience is filled with white people young and old. We don't treasure our own uniqueness.
    There is power in a good song that tells a story. What made Dorothy Norwood so popular? It wasn't her voice. It was her ability to tell a story. You can sing lord I love you. Lord I praise you, fill me up, holy holy holy a thousand times, but it fails in comparison to someone who has the ability to draw you in with a story and point you to Christ.
    Lastly, this generation DOES NOT BUY MUSIC. It's available in to many places for FREE. The crowd that bask in the annoying sea of worship songs, praise breaks, and midnight musicals (all recorded for "The BOOK" by the way) are not interested in supporting the gospel genre financially. So, in, my opinion, if Gospel Artist want to SELL music they should probably do what real ARTIST do - give your fans (the older generation) what they want. Stop writing these Lollipop songs for radio. However, if you would like to provide music for these Christian fashion shows called worship experiences please continue to write the runway music.
    All music sales are low, but, of course, gospel is at the bottom. Why? Because we are so gullible.

  3. I disagree with Deitrick on almost everything he said. He's solely looking at this from the standpoint of business. I look at gospel music from the standpoint of ministry. My father told me a LONG time ago when I first started recording not to expect a lot of record sales but be prepared to travel. THAT'S where the ministry comes in. I gotta say... Daddy was right!

    When you make music that ministers.... people want to see you. They want to be in your presence. They want to know if you're real. Once they see that? They will buy your music. But you can't go into it expecting to make money from sales.

    The only song I've downloaded loaded from Deitrick is "He's Able" and he's not even heard on the cut. But that song ministers. That's what Gospel music is all about...or SHOULD be. MINISTRY! When you lose focus on that and start creating music to chase paper, then you've lost the purpose. Quite frankly, I'm not afraid of record companies closing their Gospel division not one bit. They should! Force these artist to get back to their roots and sing for God's glory and not the Almighty dollar. That's what "church folk" want. If you minister to them they will support you. But if you don't connect, don't expect the support. You do realize the examples he gave were secular examples right? That in itself tells me a lot about him. If you're not in it for ministry at all, then no sir, you do NOT have my support.

    People will always support Dorothy Norwood, Shirley Caesar, etc.... although they know the business, they know how to minister. They also have their own labels to put their music out whenever they want.

    1. Anonymous you make very good points. I can't agree with Dietrick either. Gospel follows trends like every other music genre, although we shouldn't. Kirk Franklin made dancing with gospel popular, now Tasha Cobbs made worship popular again. It goes in season. He needs to do like Kirk Franklin, tour with your old music and watch you have sellout crowds every night..

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  5. MINISTRY of God's Word through song is powerful. Many of the messages I hear in current gospel music are so steeped in "me, myself, and I" and straight up worldly lust that I gravitate to the choir music from the 1990s or earlier. I really want to know that the artist I hear sing is living a holy and righteous Christian walk (hint: with EVIDENT fruit - I shouldn't have to wonder, guess, or dig), and not just endeavoring to be the next recognized celebrity (please stop it with the "reality TV" - shameless self-promotion that anyone with a modicum of discernment can see through).

    Check out this article written in 2011 that offers some clear reasons gospel music sales are down - and over 150 comments with salient points to consider as we turn our eyes from idolatry and refocus on building true and consistent relationship with our Creator:

    Blessings to all who desire to worship God in spirit and in truth...

    1. When I read this post yesterday, I thought of G. Craige Lweis' blogpost, too. The things he mentioned in 2011 are true today in 2016. When artists have the courage to minister under the Anointing and not according to their labels, people WILL buy gospel music. It is true from a business perspective that you follow trends, but today's singers can use SoundCloud and put out their music independently. That frees you from the constraints of the labels. Even the artists themselves admit they hate the labels they signed too. Also, could we please get rid of Sunday's Best as it is doing nothing but making a mockery of God. Competition can be fun and healthy, but it stops when we come to the house of God. I remember as a child hearing about concerts where they were free. They took an offering up a the door if people chose to give and they sold their records. No one was turned away. The whole reaching the world thing is hurting the industry because the world is not fooled by that approach. It is an excuse to sell more records. Put the focus back on ministry and intergrity. See if records and digital downloads fly off of the "shelves."

    2. One more thing about this post. If gospel artists actually spent time strengthening their relationship with God, they would flow in creativity and not use gimmicks to sell their music. On a related note, we have seen many scandals surrounding gospel artist. The most egregious one was James Fortune. When artists live what they sing about, the sales will come back. Remember, gospel singers should be in it for ministry and not a quick buck. To survive, have a second and even third stream of income. This way, if album sales don't bring the money, these artists have something to fall back on.

  6. Why anyone would spend God's money on music by Kim Burrell who sings in lingerie so to appear sexy because she lost a few pounds IS beyond me. And Kirk Franklin who parades around apologizing to the homosexuals in behalf of the church, His music fit for the stage of BET. Mary Mary their bubble gum music, and Hez Walker calling himself a bishop, His character in question. And Donnie and Yolanda and Bee Bee, Yolanda, singing a famous song by the Beatles, Imagine there is no heaven. And Marvin Sapp, His weirdness. These folks money grubbers like Shirley Ceasar calling hreself a Bishop even though this office is designated for a male type. And all these young and hip hop Christian artists, we know there is nothing holy about hop hop. GOD is not pleased. The world is not drawn to it. A FEW of these artist will get rewarded as they only reward they will receive will be from this world. I am really surprised they reap any sales at all.


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