Contemporart Christian & Gospel Music Sold in Record Numbers by Mainstream Retail in 2000

In 2000, with its overall music sales down slightly for the first
time in more than five years, contemporary Christian and gospel music still had good reason to celebrate.
Sales of the genre at mainstream retail stores increased more than nine percent with new artists making
the strongest impact in both sales and visibility.
Total sales of contemporary Christian and gospel albums ended the year at 44,031,000 units, according
to SoundScan. That total was 46,852,000 in 1999, a six percent decline, due primarily to the lack of new
studio releases in 2000 from the industry’s top gold- and platinum-selling artists like dc Talk, Jars of
Clay, Steven Curtis Chapman, Sixpence None the Richer,
Amy Grant and Point of Grace. The overall music industry is reporting a modest four percent growth in
album sales due to increases in the alternative, rap, metal and R&B categories. Latin, country,
soundtracks, jazz and classical genres also experienced sales declines.
Mainstream retail stores saw their biggest increase ever in sales of contemporary Christian and Gospel
music, selling 23,109,000, over two million more than in 1999, a 9.2 percent increase. Mainstream sales
accounted for 50.4 percent of total contemporary Christian and gospel music sales in 2000, with the
Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) retailers, accounting for 47.2 percent of the total sales. Direct
Response and Internet sales tallied 2.03 percent of total sales. The mix of releases mostly affected a CBA
sales decline this year, particularly the absence of new projects by core CBA-selling artists.
“Mainstream retail once again experienced this year that contemporary Christian and gospel music sells.
That this increase occurred even without new studio albums by some of our typically top-selling artists
demonstrates that the market for this music continues to grow and to find new audiences. Mainstream
retail has done a great job of marketing urban and rock music, especially with acts like Yolanda Adams,
P.O.D. and Mary Mary, some of our biggest sellers this year. This is an area with great upside potential
for our CBA stores going forward. They now know there is a huge audience for this style of Christian
music, and I think you’ll see them make gains in that area in the future,” said Frank Breeden, president of
the Gospel Music Association (GMA) and Christian Music Trade Association (CMTA).
Four of the top ten albums of the year came from artists who had never been at the top of contemporary
Christian and gospel music charts. Yolanda Adams and P.O.D. ranked numbers one and two
respectively, while new artists Mary Mary and Plus One also scored top ten albums for the year. In
addition, five other new artists Stacie Orrico, ZOE girl, Rachael Lampa, Nicole C. Mullen and Mark
Schultz have sold more than 100,000 units to date of their debut releases. By comparison, only two of
the five nominees for last year’s Best New Artist Dove Award had sold more than 100,000 units in 1999.
“When you witness the rate at which these new artists are selling compared to their counterparts in the
past, you can’t help but be optimistic about the future growth of these artists, and indeed, our entire
industry. In the past, it has taken an artist in our genre two or three albums to establish a large fan base,
but artists like Plus One and Mary Mary are doing that on their debuts, and we can only expect their
audiences to grow,” Breeden observed.
In the year’s top ten, contemporary Christian and gospel music’s diversity was once again on display
with the top-selling albums representing several musical styles, including urban, rock/pop and modern
worship. After Mountain High…Valley Low by Yolanda Adams and P.O.D.’s The Fundamental
Elements of Southtown at #1 and #2 comes Charlotte Church’s Voice of an Angel at #3 and Thankful
from Mary Mary at #4. The pop compilation WoW 2001 ended the year at #5 followed by WoW
Worship Blue at #6. Anne Murray’s gospel debut, What A Wonderful World, sold strong at #7
followed by WoW Worship Orange and WoW 2000 capturing the #8 and #9 rankings. Plus One’s
debut, The Promise, rounds out the top ten.
“The top selling albums for 2000 reflect the continued promise of contemporary Christian and gospel
music,” said Breeden. “It’s especially apparent that teens and adults will buy albums with spiritually
passionate lyrics and compelling music, and that is what today’s artists are creating. The music is diverse
and relevant, but the message of the Gospel that makes this music unique has never been stronger. We
have much to look forward to in 2001.”
Breeden expects healthier sales in 2001, due to sustained strong sales from the newest crop of top-selling
artists and anticipated new studio projects from Amy Grant, Point of Grace, Steven Curtis Chapman,
CeCe Winans, Newsboys, Avalon, Fred Hammond, Sixpence None the Richer, the Mississippi Mass
Choir, Audio Adrenaline and solo projects from dc Talk’s Michael Tait, Kevin Max and Toby
McKeehan. The Oak Ridge Boys also plan a return to gospel music in 2001.
Some additional highlights from the year-end report:
Adult contemporary style of Christian music continues to be the most popular,
representing 34 percent of the total album units sold in 2000. Praise & Worship and
gospel music sold 17 and 16 percent respectively, followed by children’s music at 12
percent and southern gospel at eight percent. Rock sales accounted for seven percent,
instrumental, four percent and country, two percent.
The top sales markets in 2000 were (in order): New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San
Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit
and Dallas-Fort Worth.
Compilation projects once again were big sellers in 2000. The WoW series continues
as the strongest brand in Christian music. Four of the top ten albums were WoW
projects, including WoW Worship Orange and WoW Worship Blue, indicating a
growing audience for Praise & Worship music. In fact, five of the top ten albums sold
in CBA stores were worship albums.
Video sales experienced an 11 percent increase in 2000 over 1999. Total sales of videos
were 6,300,000, up from 5,654,000 last year. Leading the video charts were two new
Veggie Tales releases: King George & The Ducky and Esther: The Girl Who Became
Queen. Left Behind: The Movie, based on the popular book series, came in at the #3
spot. Big Ideas’ newest video entry, 3-2-1 Penguins, Trouble on Your Planet Wait
Your Turn came in at #4.
Contemporary Christian and gospel music saw a record number of gold, platinum and
multi-platinum certifications from the Recording Industry Association of America
(RIAA), 25 in all, including multi-platinum certifications for dcTalk (Jesus Freak),
Kirk Franklin (The Nu Nation Project) and WoW 2000 and WoW 1999.
The CMTA is the contemporary Christian and gospel music industry’s trade organization responsible for
managing the Christian SoundScan and creating opportunities for growth and penetration of the
marketplace for music-related products, services and activities which communicate the gospel throughout
the world. Founded in 1964, the 5,500-member Gospel Music Association is dedicated to educating the
public and the music industry concerning the mission and role of gospel music in today’s world. The
GMA produces the Dove Awardsä , which recognizes achievement in all genres of Gospel music and is
the premiere television awards show for the contemporary Christian and gospel music industry. The
2001 Dove Awardsä will be held at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville on Thursday, April 26, 2001.

2000 Top Ten Selling Albums Overall
Title/Artist Units Sold
1.Mountain High Valley Low – Yolanda Adams 985,051
2.The Fundamental Elements of Southtown – P.O.D. 733,167
3.Voice of an Angel – Charlotte Church 591,670
4.Thankful – Mary Mary 531,239
5.WoW 2001 – Various 457,613
6.WoW Worship Blue – Various 442,164
7.What A Wonderful World – Anne Murray 413,708
8.WoW Worship Orange – Various 410,706
9.WoW 2000 — Various 374,957
10.The Promise – Plus One 362,338

2000 Top Ten Selling Albums at Christian (CBA) Retail
Album/Artist Units Sold
1.WoW 2001 – Various 284,206
2.WoW Worship Orange – Various 280,316
3.The Promise – Plus One 276,507
4.WoW Worship Blue – Various 232,421
5.Offerings: A Worship Album – Third Day 201,908
6.WoW 2000 – Various 185,863
7.Speechless – Steven Curtis Chapman 180,769
8.Sonicflood – Sonicflood 173,831
9.I Could Sing….25 Modern Worship Songs 162,835
10.Crystal Clear – Jaci Velasquez 150,098
2000 Record Distribution Company Marketshare
(Albums and Singles)
Chordant 45.65% Pamplin 3.34%
Word 27.11% Diamante 2.78%
Provident 22.21% New Day .56%
2000 Record Distribution Company Marketshare
Word 57.16% Pamplin 5.58%
Chordant 27.50% Diamante .50%
Provident 7.10% New Day .07%
2000 Top Ten Selling Videos
Title/Company Units Sold
1.King George and the Ducky – Veggie Tales 576,951
2.Esther: The Girl Who Became Queen – Veggie Tales 563,971
3.Left Behind: The Movie – Cloud Ten Pictures 468,788
4.Trouble on the Planet Wait-Your-Turn – 3-2-1 Penguins 253,192
5.Toy That Saved Christmas – Veggie Tales 150,307
6.Larry Boy Rumor Weed – Veggie Tales 144,501
7.Madame Blueberry – Veggie Tales 110,170
8.Josh & Big Wall – Veggie Tales 98,349
9.Good News – Gaither Vocal Band 85,448
10.Dave & The Pickle – Veggie Tales 84,094
2000 Contemporary Christian and Gospel Music Genre Sales Percentages
Adult Contemporary/Pop 34%
Praise & Worship 17%
Gospel 16%
Childrens 12%
Southern Gospel 8%
Rock 7%
Instrumental 4%
Country 2%
See related story on Provident’s best year.

type=”submit” value=”Press here to tell a friend about this site!”


Enjoy this website? Please spread the word :)