Electronic Christian Music is, at its core, a revival of worship music for Christian churches. However, because of its widespread appeal it has morphed into being a mainstream form. It is now used in television, radio, and on the web. Many people use modern Christian music for worship or Christian education. Many people even use electronic Christian music for fun, especially when they are involved in Christian sport and hobbies.
Electronic Christian Music first had a major presence in the early eighties with groups like the electronic Dance Therapy (EDT), which made use of drum machines, samplers, and other electronic musical tools. The electronic Christian music was more concerned with digital music formats and instruments than actual vocal sounds. One of the earliest break-throughs in this genre was brought about by artists like Larry Norman. He made use of keyboards and samplers in his song “Christners in Waiting.” Another great artist who contributed to the growth of electronic Christian music is Lee Ritenour.
Electronic Christian Music is not recognized by most Christians as being sub-genre specific. Many non-Christians are familiar with this sub-genre and have made videos for songs within it. This sub-genre can be seen in audio songs, instrumental or dance-based songs, and many Christian themed songs. The popularity of this sub-genre owes much, perhaps most, to the growth and widespread popularity of online Christian networking websites.
Most Christian music genres fall under the categories of “Christian Music,” “Christian Audio,” and “Christian Video.” These three sub-genres typically refer to audio/video materials that Christian church members regularly listen to or watch. Often, they cross boundaries into other genres such as pop, rock, country, or Jazz. More recently, traditional Christian music has made a foray into electronic forms of expression, specifically through rap and hip-hop. Most people think of EDM when they think of this movement.
Streaming music platforms have also contributed to the growth of electronic Christian music. One of the biggest sites, YouTube, allows everyday people to upload their own homemade Christian songs and Christian videos. In addition, there are a number of individual Christian websites that feature unique and original Christian songs and Christian videos. These independent websites often cross over into mainstream pop-culture sites such as YouTube and iTunes.
This type of music has grown in popularity particularly in recent years as it has been featured on popular Christian talk shows such as Oprah. Christian radio stations across the country have also adopted this form of electronic Christian music and Christian speakers are even starting to talk about it on their radio shows. One of the reasons for this is that Christian music often times captures the listener’s attention quite well. Many people are familiar with traditional hymns, and Christian music lyrics can be compelling and inspirational at the same time. In fact, some newer Christian songs and artists have gained mainstream appeal because they are appealing to a larger audience.
The downside of this type of electronic Christian music is the lack of control by individual churches. Because it is not released officially by one church, there is no way for regular churchgoers to purchase or support these Christian audio tracks. Many churches do not have the finances to release Christian audio files on CD, and thus this is the major drawback of these types of Christian audio tracks. But, many churches have adapted by creating websites where users can purchase or download a collection of their favorite songs or audio files directly from the church website.
The popularity of electronic Christian music has created a new opportunity for many Christians who are looking to bring the good news of God to their homes through Christian worship music. This means that while traditional hymnals and Christian music concerts remain to be important in bringing members to church, more churches should consider using Christian audio files that they own and distribute online. It is estimated that there are currently several hundred thousand Christians who are using Christian audio files to enhance their worship attendance, and it is anticipated that this number will increase in the coming years as more churches start to offer Christian audio music downloads directly to their members.