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In the music industry, artists typically need to learn to handle 2 sides of the career to be successful: the art, and the business. In the Christian music industry, there are 3 things that artists need to know how to maintain: the art, the business, and the ministry [notice how each word in the phrase “Christian music industry” reflects one of these aspects]. If any one of these qualities is lacking, one’s chances of having a successful career that God smiles upon are significantly diminished. For instance:

Scenario 1: Maybe you write pretty good songs [art], and you have a real heart for spreading God’s word [ministry] through song; but if you don’t learn how to promote and market yourself (or affiliate with someone who knows how to) [business], you will be playing local coffee shops for a long time.

Scenario 2: Maybe you want to be a Christ-serving, world-changing rock star more than anything [m], and maybe you are actually really awesome at getting your name out and making connections [b], but you aren’t the best singer, and you can’t write your own songs [a]. Many people won’t give you a chance if you don’t have the chops to start with, unless you find a producer/writer who can create a great recording for you to show people.

Scenario 3: Maybe you are an awesome performer with all the charm and talent in the world [a], not to mention your innovative marketing techniques and professional image [b] – everyone who meets you loves you! But maybe you’re in it more for yourself than for God, and the whole “Christian” thing is more of a gimmick [m]. You may find some level of success, but what will the Lord say of it on judgment day? Will all your earthly fame be worth it in eternity?

As you can see, there are downfalls to each of these situations where one of the 3 qualities is missing. So which one is most important? In the grand scheme of things, ministry should ideally be the center of attention. Within Philmont we talk about this, and though it’s often hard to keep it in focus, we know that if we are in God’s will and making music for the right reasons, He can put everything else in place. At the same time, we want to use our talents to make great music – we want to grow and perform skillfully, which is why the art is still crucial. And ideally, an artist finds enough success that they don’t have to worry about the business side so much, because there are managers, agents, and what not working on all that for them. We are not at that point yet, so we press on!

I didn’t start this blog trying to create a lecture on how to have a Christian music career; this is just stuff I’ve been thinking about recently – I’m writing to myself here as well. I really just discovered the concept of the “Three Pillars” (as I have so titled them) as I was pondering the ongoing dynamic between art and business. I don’t know, maybe I’m totally off-base with all of it, but it makes sense to me right this second, so I’m posting it! Hope you all have a great week!

Three Songs to Buy on iTunes This Week:
1. “Divers” by Eleventyseven

2. “Not the Sun” by Brand New

3. “Chocolate” by Snow Patrol

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3 Comments

  1. That is so true! Thanks for sharing! I love how you guys keep God in the picture, too many bands I know fall away from glorifying Him to glorifying the world. Those first 2 songs you suggested I already have,both great songs. I don’t think I’ve heard the third one.

  2. It was a really good and helpful writing for me. Thank you for sharing the ideas. I should keep them in mind as I do anything related to my music from now on. I’ll also check the three songs you posted.

  3. great post, thanks for sharing Josiah!


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