Music Industry takes a Nosedive
The music industry is experiencing a plummeting nosedive. Between 1999 and 2014, music record sales have dropped 70%, resulting in a loss of 14 billion dollars in income. More individuals than ever are consuming music, however, fewer and fewer are willing to pay for it. The result is that music itself has lost value, has become less valuable.
In the past, people were forced to buy a CD of a dozen songs for $15-20 dollars for their personal music library. Today they can buy the one song they really want for $1 via itunes. CD use is becoming something of the past as each year the volume of CDs sold drops. In 2016, Walmart, the largest seller of CDs in North America, is reducing its store space for CDs by 50%.
Music Streaming Services Ascending
Instead music streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Utube are becoming the mainstay. The result is that an immense catalogue of music, previously out of reach to the individual, is becoming available for a few dollars or cents, or for free. With the plummeting of music sales, recording studio are closing and professional recording musicians find their services increasingly unwanted. In Hollywood, professional musicians are rebelling against music unions and their unions dues because they can’t find sufficient work. Many no longer see the value of the unions –“What are they doing for us?”
Heightened Awareness of the Worship MInistry
In contrast,the worship ministry in our churches has been accorded more importance than in the past. It is recognized as valuable. Worship can play an important role in the spiritual development of believers and in attracting new worshipers and seekers. Pastors and worship leaders today are the most visible leaders in the church. More time is being accorded to worship. Consequently worship leaders are in greater demand than ever before.
Recording studio musicians, given the stress of paying their bills, are often seeking part-time work in churches. They desire some form of regular income to supplement the “feast or famine” lifestyle they experience in the commercial music industry. Furthermore, the excitement of touring across the country with a band, soon fades. Musicians wishing to settle down and start a family understand they need to be able to spend time with their spouse and children.
The upshot to all of this is that, for musicians, a worship ministry in the church is looking more attractive. Though less spectacular, it appears to offer more long-range stability — even more personal meaning. Now there are serious problems facing the worship ministry today, and working in the church is uniquely challenging itself –it’s not for the faint of heart — but let’s save that for another time.