CCM Magazine Changes Its Name & Enters the 21st Century

ccm_05.07

I’m going to admit something.

I worked in the Chirstian music industry.
My husband has worked in the industry for over a decade (though now he overlaps Christian and mainstream music). But I have never been a huge fan of contemporary Christian music, or the magazine that represents it, CCM.

I have always felt they had a good heart, but everything from the graphics to some of the artists covered, were at least a decade behind.

When I say “behind”, you need to understand that I love aesthetics of design, and innovative sound in music. Yes, plenty of music I like would not be considered cutting edge. But I still greatly admire music that is. As Christians we shouldn’t be taking cues from the world’s trend-setters and being the last to catch on. Shouldn’t we be setting the tone if we are in touch with our creator?

One of the main reasons most of Christian music isn’t hitting the charts is because much of it lacks appeal apart from the good lyrics and edifying part. And while those reasons are great reasons for Christians to listen, why should a world that does not care about edification want to listen? Shouldn’t we be creating things that MAKE THEM WANT TO LISTEN, instead of merely Christian substitutes to what is already out there in the general market?

At any rate… the main christian music magazine that has been dedicated to this industry is CCM. And I just received a press release that they are changing. THANK YOU GOD!

I have not read the first issue (pictured above), of what will now be called CCM (Christ. Community. Music.) Magazine. The mere fact that they realize that have to come of age, shows they care. They can not be the same magazine that they were 29 years ago if they want to get younger Chrisitians interested. They asked (via survey a while back) AND THEY LISTENED!

I genuinely feel that if they are truly listening to their younger readers they may actually be able to make an larger impact on them again.

Here is the Press Release (a portion):

Nashville, Tenn., May 1, 2007—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”

DISCLAIMER: My thoughts about a chunk of the Christian music market have no reflection on the artist in the new issue of CCM magazine pictured above. Toby Mac is not only a great guy, but a talented one as well.

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21 Responses to “CCM Magazine Changes Its Name & Enters the 21st Century”


  1. 1 bd May 1, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    granted there are a few execptions, but for most the CCM music out there… well, poop smothered in perfume is still poop.

  2. 2 mommyzabs May 1, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    ah yes, but did you see that they are broadening their coverage to bands that are christian but not on christian labels. bands they wouldn’t have touched wwith a 10 foot pole before.

  3. 3 southerngirlmusings May 1, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    okay, so you want to hear more about my Hill experience, want to hear about your music experience…interesting, I love finding out new stuff. Okay, I have never seen the magazine but there was a comment that resonated with me about Christian music should make people want to listen and not just repeat what is in the world and this is a big gripe for me within the gospel music arena as I get tired of the sampled tracks that I hear and do not understand how one thinks that changing the words to “midnight train to Georgia” should now be a Christian song. I like all kinds of Christian music so I am hoping that change does come not only for the magazine but for the industry.

  4. 4 mommyzabs May 1, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Hey Southerngirl 🙂
    Looks like we have some info. to swap 🙂 I don’t talk about my former career much because, well it doesn’t often apply to much I have to say. I’m officially content in mommy world 🙂 If you went back to much older posts though you may see more about it. Of course, those aren’t tagged (though maybe some day i will get around to that!). My husband worked for a Label for just about a decade,, and now we live away from the industry and he is managing artists, some producers, and a few authors (which he can live anywere and do). He is still very plugged in, i’m not except for where it pertains to his job.

    It’s funny you mention you didn’t know that. I haven’t known you long, but it made me realize I really don’t go into it much.

  5. 5 mommyzabs May 1, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    Oh yes, pertaining to gosple I know very little. Though a guy tried to talk Jeff into moving to alabama and working for Integrity. No chance though. My church in Nashville worshipped with mostly gospel music mainly Israel and some others, but beyond that I”m pretty clueless!

  6. 6 mommyzabs May 1, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    GOSPEL- sorry spelling is awful. why is there no function to edit comments on here? i think i’m going to write feedback 🙂 I’m really not trying to blow up my comments!

  7. 7 t.y. May 2, 2007 at 12:13 am

    hee hee, “poop smothered in perfume is still poop.”

    totally agree w/ you, elizabeth, about the edification thing. but it’s tricky territory, aesthetics and faith. when does it border on judgemental? and at the same time, how can we be true to offering our best to God (i.e. not perfume covered poop)? 😉

    do you know about paste music? what ccm is doing now sounds a lot like what paste has been doing for awhile. check ’em out if you haven’t already– http://www.pastemagazine.com

  8. 8 Kristy C May 2, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Very interesting!!!

  9. 9 misi May 2, 2007 at 8:13 am

    Well I guess I am the minority because I happen to love Christian music, in fact I rarely listen to secular anymore.

  10. 10 Neil May 2, 2007 at 8:48 am

    We’ve listened to CCM for about a decade. My wife found it when the girls were young and the other stations were getting a little raunchy. We’ve found lots of good stuff, but a lot of it is pablum.

    Re. comments – you can edit them if you want and fix spelling and such (I do it with mine all the time!). Just go to your Dashboard, then click the Comments tab, then click Edit below the comments. Good luck!

  11. 11 mommyzabs May 2, 2007 at 9:28 am

    Kristy- yes yes it is!

    T.Y.- yes paste is a great magazine. I do not think (or can’t imagine) that CCM is going to be doing the same exact thing as they aren’t going to be discreat about being Christian. And I think Paste’s mission (though wonderful!) is probably a little different, and that is a good thing b/c God calls different people to different things. If you are interested, one of the main music reviewers for paste has a blog here: Andywhitman.blogspot.com . Of course you may know that, i can’t quite figure out who you are and if i know you 🙂

    Misi- Please don’t feel alone. I listen to a lot of Christian music… i just have felt that a lot of times they neglect some of the better christian artists and therefore many people don’t even know that there is some really great music out there. Also, as I made the point that for Christians a lot of what they cover is great and edifying, but not really anything that appeals to the youth and the lost as much. I love that they are broadening and can include music that has the right messege, but will be appealing to people outside the christian arean. Make sense?

    Neil- I think most christian stations are great for young families especially. I have noticed more than ever since I had children how bad a lot of the other stuff can be. I just wished that more of the music strived for excellence and strived the be incredible on a musical/lyriccal level. There are plenty of bands like that but often they don’t get much play on the Christian radio stations.
    What does Pablum mean. I tried to look it up but couldn’t find it.

    Guys I do like:
    Shawn McDonald, jeremy camp…
    I love that the guys are out there.

  12. 12 Neil May 2, 2007 at 9:50 am

    Pablum is bland cereal that kids eat – harmless, but not that tasty.

    There are some great artists out there. I miss Rich Mullins. I started listening to CCM shortly after he died. I found his greatest hits and listened to it for months. I like dcTalk as well – wish they hadn’t broken up!

    I took my oldest to a Newsboys concert for her 12th birthday. We had a fantastic time.

    I like how our local station (KSBJ – “God Listens”) is commercial free. They do a lot of great outreach and ministry projects.

  13. 13 mommyzabs May 2, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Very good choice of words, Pablum. Very good. If you liked DCTalk you should listen to Toby if you don’t already. He was the brains behind dcTalk anyway 🙂

    Rich Mullins- good stuff.

    I have been to many a Newsboys show, and while I don’t think there music is amazing, they do have an outreach with youthgroups and they sure know how to get the crowd involved. but “no breakfast in hell”? May be fun with the kids, but seriously, that is the kind of stuff I’m talking about!

    That is great your radio station does a lot of outreach.

  14. 14 misi May 2, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Zabs,
    I don’t really feel alone just kinda disappointed that the “point” behind ALL chrisitian music is apparently lost to so many. If it doesn’t agree w/ your tastes then fine, but don’t blast artists for sounding so “normal” or “mainstream”. The message is always and will always be Jesus. Kinda like Jesus is the reason for season?? I don’t mean you Zabs in particular so no offense k?

  15. 15 mommyzabs May 2, 2007 at 10:18 am

    no worries misi, i just didn’t want to offend you. I just don’t want coverage to be limited to the small percentage of artists that CCm used to cover… and am excited they are opening it up to broader styles that also point to Jesus that more people will find palatable. you are right we shouldn’t blast artists, which is why i am trying not to mention certain artists. It is also hard knowing some of the behind the scenes that I also don’t want to mention. It has factored into some of my opinions of some of the most regularly played music.
    Yes- the messege is jesus and that is why i feel that coverage should be broadened to people like P.O.D. and the Frey, etc…. Because they cover Jesus and our walks with them as well. I have been thoroughly ministered to by the Frey. And P.O.D. has done the same for me. In fact the lastest Goo Goo dolls album is amazing. I listen to it on my iPod a lot while I’m working out… and It is so worshipful to me. So i just think that it is great that CCM magazine will now be includieing these things.

    Love you much Misi, nothing taken wrong at all. I don’t want to offend you either. You are an incredible woman.

  16. 16 Neil May 2, 2007 at 10:25 am

    Yes – Toby is good – just downloaded a couple of his songs last month.

  17. 17 misi May 2, 2007 at 10:37 am

    And now my eyes are opened… The Goo Goo dolls, really?? I never would have known that. I will be checking them out asap. Thanks for the tip. Love you too girl.

  18. 18 mommyzabs May 2, 2007 at 10:42 am

    Yes the goo goo dolls, and now people that wouldn’t normally know that will, if CCM is starting to cover that stuff. Isn’t that great! Opens up a new world of options that people probably didn’t know they had!

    When are you swiching to wordpress?
    It is so easy. will only take minutes and you can email me if you have a qu’s. I’ll even help make you a personlized banner if you like.

  19. 19 misi May 2, 2007 at 10:51 am

    I actually have my password and everything but I have been slacking when I come home from work. I will be doing it soon though. Thanks for volunteering to help me with it, how did you know that I would need help?:)

  20. 20 mommyzabs May 2, 2007 at 11:01 am

    i didn’t know for sure, but i have needed a lot of help myself!

  21. 21 stevereenie May 2, 2007 at 11:05 am

    MZ

    Nice article on Toby.

    . . . . . . . Next Stop Lauderdale


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