Christ. Community. Music.

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Interesting development in the Christian Music world this month. CCM Magazine is changing it’s name from Contemporary Christian Music Mag, to "Christ. Community. Music." In an effort to include artists who deny the term "Christian musician" in the mainstream and independent music industries, CCM is changing its focus, broadening its definition of artists of faith.

From the May 1st press release:

CCM Magazine, Christian music’s preeminent publication, is changing its definition of Christian music with its May 2007 issue to raise the profile of independent and general market artists of faith.

"This month marks a historic step for our magazine, and, as a result, the fans and the industry we serve," said CCM Editor Jay Swartzendruber. "We’re going to start mixing indie and general market Christians such as The Fray, Mary J. Blige and Sufjan Stevens in with artists with traditional Christian label affiliation.  Rather than define  Christian music  just by its label or distribution, we re now defining it as Christian worldview music. CCM Magazine has always taken its role as a leader seriously, and we believe this is the way of the future."

During the  70s, CCM played a leading role in branding the spiritual pop and rock & roll that was known then simply as Jesus Music. As the grassroots contemporary Christian music scene mushroomed into a billion dollar industry, Christian music  became widely regarded as an actual genre, even though it included rock, pop, hip-hop, punk, hardcore metal and other styles of music. As a result, many artists of faith who are reluctant to have their music defined by the Christian market have chosen to bypass it altogether. With this expanded view of  Christian music, CCM Magazine now celebrates the full spectrum of faith-fueled music and musicians.

The  CCM  acronym ­ which has stood for  contemporary Christian music  for most of the magazine’s 29-year history ­ takes on new meaning this month as revealed by the front cover tagline: Christ.  Community. Music. "CCM has always been a catalyst for community between Christian artists and readers," explained Swartzendruber.  "However, we re taking that idea to a new level by making reader-generated content central to our new approach. In fact, our readers are literally helping us create this magazine, including their own album reviews, first-hand accounts, questions for favorite artists, and highlights from our online social networking community, www.myCCM.org."

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6 thoughts on “Christ. Community. Music.”

  1. I can’t pretend to speak for another editor or publication, but what you just described reminds me of “Risen Magazine.” I spoke briefly with one of their editors, Chris Ahrens, at a writing conference a few years ago, and it was refreshing to hear how a group of believers were crafting this fantastic publication with the ability to reach more people than the traditional Christian magazine. You can view it online at http://www.risenmagazine.com.

  2. I don’t know about y’all, but I find this is incredibly exciting!
    We need to not only dare to hope, we need to define it ourselves.
    CCM has allowed the community at large to begin to define a new standard. We need to understand our ability to change the direction of our communities and our world simply by living authentic, passionate lives and not standing for anything less.
    Authority is a matter of understanding, not possession.

  3. We’ll see if, practically, anything changes, really. The biggest Christian station in my area claims to be “safe for the whole family” (although our definitions of “safe” are different). They don’t play anything unless it is recorded by a “Christian” studio. They will however play anything recorded in said studios – even if it is a cover by a previously unplayed non-Christian-studio recording artist (and even if it is theologically heretical – as long as it’s safe, of course). The change I think is coming from Christians who record good music and step outside the Christian world.
    But even if not much changes within the Christian world (although, I guess, little by little, it is), I’m glad to see the recognition.
    Boy, am I confusing or what?

  4. I find this news encouraging and timely. I’m in the middle of Dick Staub’s latest book and find it very relevant, as he talks about going deep with Jesus and being authentic as a means to be in our culture and influencing it. I’ll be interested to see what happens.

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