Piracy of Gospel Music Worries Christian Music Ministries

( [email protected] ) Apr 21, 2004 12:38 PM EDT

While pop music in this world is filled with lyrics describing fallen love, gospel music is growing fast to bring fresh and pure spring of life to young people. Especially teenage Christians are pulled by the new lively worship style. However, a recent survey conducted in America showing the serious piracy of online Christian music has disappointed the Christian music ministries.

A poll taken by the Barna Group, which performs tracking and surveying from a religious perspective, says just one in 10 Christian teens surveyed considered online music piracy to be morally wrong, and 64 percent of them said they had participated in some kind of music piracy.

Scott Ferguson, a junior at Fort Worth Christian Academy in Texas, said he has never burned a pirated Christian CD but has received burned CDs as birthday gifts.

"A lot of students think it's like a cheap way to be witness to the Gospel," said Scott Flagg, 22, who belongs to a Christian fraternity at the University of North Texas. "They go out and buy a CD, then burn several copies to give away."

Many adult believers and even church leaders think Christian teenagers downloading gospel music from cyberspace is no big deal. Some people try to make sensible excuses like “saving souls is far more important than getting paid” and “the music came from God and should be shared freely among all people”.

However, such behaviour is a big contridiction to the commandment stated in the Bible, "Thou shalt not steal."

Barry Landis, president of Word Records, a major Christian label said, "You would never steal Bibles to give them away. You shouldn't steal Christian music to give away either."

"I'm surprised and disappointed that the behaviour isn't that ardently different between Christians and non-Christians," said John Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association, the leading trade group for evangelical music.

Like their secular counterparts, Christian music executives say digital-music theft is hurting sales. Last year, sales of Christian albums fell by 5.2 percent, to just over 47 million.

Mainstream music companies see piracy as purely a legal issue, the Christian industry frames the issue differently, Styll said, "we take it further and say it's a moral issue.” The companies plan to take enormous education efforts in the future to discourage piracy.