Where does the future of Christian music lie? Rachel Seo from Christianity Today writes that its future might be on social media.
New and younger Christian artists are increasingly finding success online, away from traditional labels. Independent artists have embraced a lo-fi (low fidelity) trend rejecting the high production values of mainstream worship music.
Still, the model isn’t easy for new artists. TikTok and Spotify now dominate the market with pay of about $.004 per stream. Despite a difficult environment, many indie-faith artists embrace the freedom of having no label, saying it gives them the ability to explore what it means to be a Christian in the music industry.
Montell Fish is a Christian musician whose songs took off with tens of millions of streams. But unlike artists who have risen through the ranks of CCM, his main platform isn’t a worship stage.
The 24-year-old artist went viral on TikTok from his bedroom, where he recorded himself, wearing a T-shirt and black bandana, playing the guitar, and singing in falsetto, “Why don’t you talk to me like you used to?”
In a world that increasingly defies labels and genre, Fish represents a slew of indie faith-based artists who are finding success on platforms like TikTok and skipping the format and industry contemporary Christian music CCM was long built upon.
For these artists, independence from the traditional constraints of the music industry means greater freedom to explore—and redefine—what it means to be a successful “Christian” artist. With this freedom, though, comes greater responsibility for artists over their career direction and renders other essential parts like financial sustainability more unstable.
Previously known as one of the artists behind the music project Lord’s Child and a YouTuber who uploaded videos like “3 Ways to keep your focus on Christ,” Fish began uploading TikToks in October 2019.
On September 7, 2021, he uploaded a clip of himself sitting in his bedroom, with a sound titled “fall in love with you” playing in the background. The song snippet stands out for its tranquility; it seems content to takes its time, a contrast to TikTok’s fast pace. The video accrued over 3.3 million views, a consecutive YouTube video of Fish playing the song accumulated more than double the original’s views, and listeners have streamed the subsequent Spotify release 92 million times.
Read full article here.