I’m known to take shots on occasion through my blog. I’m also known to make feeble attempts at being humorous with my posts on occasion. With all my posts (except the ones concerning football) my blog postings are always thought out in advance to make a point…create conversation…and cause people to think. Some days I’m better at it than others. Yesterday’s post about the praise bands was pretty brutal…heavy handed…and was intended to be.
The whole thing started when I made a comment about how much I liked Elevation Church’s worship album. A simple comment…nothing really in-depth or overly “high pressure sales” bit. Within hours I had over 30 emails from worship leaders or band members asking me to “check out their worship album for sale”. Some sent me to YouTube, others to iTunes and others to their church’s website. Chris Carey…who plays drums in a great band down the street from us at Journey Church brought up two really good points in his post today…”first, I don’t know why anyone’s sending him samples of their music. Second, those that did obviously respect his opinion and now have been bashed into hiding and I imagine quite a few are reconsidering their loyalty to Christianity.” I agree wholeheartedly…thus my tongue-in-check statement about knowing a lot about good music. Well Chris…and the rest of the blog reading world…the reason they sent me samples and weblinks is…wait for it…so I would pump their album on my blog and help generate more sales. Many of the emails specifically asked me to help them out with sales by mentioning their album on my blog. I gotta tell you…that kind of crap just repulses me.
Seldom is a week that goes by that I don’t get a book in the mail by some yahoo I don’t even know asking me to read it, blog about it and help him sell more copies…some even offer me a percentage of the sales. If they were to actually read my blog they would know I’m ADD and rarely read an entire book. Secondly they’d know I hate shameless promotion and product plugs on blogs. Anything I plug at ChrisElrod.com is stuff I bought legitimately…loved…and feel that it can be a benefit to others.
I will go on record as saying that there are some good praise bands out there that I discovered through this little journey. However, the vast majority really were not good enough to have a project for sale. I was shocked at how many seem to have no originality (played the songs note-for-note), are stuck in th 80’s (thus the electronic drums comment – only Neil Peart can pull it off these days without looking chessy) or have really female sounding male lead singers (which is a HUGE pet peeve of mine). It’s one thing to put out an album for your church to buy and enjoy….it’s another to actually hock it to the world for purchase. You gotta remember I spent a lot of years in the professional Christian music industry. If your recorded project, musical skills, songwriting and marketing graphics can’t compete with Hillsongs United, Chris Tomlin or David Crowder Band…then you need to stay local…a big fish in a little pond. The people that emailed me weren’t just guys loving God and doing the best they can playing for an audience of One…they were trying to make money because they thought they had the stuff to compete on a international sales level…and they didn’t. If they were offended by my comments…wait until they actually sit down with a top CCM manager or CCM record company A&R rep…my comments will look tame (I know I’ve been there). If you don’t have tough skin…and can’t take brutal critique…don’t get into the professional Christian music industry!!!
In essence I was approached in these emails to be some kind of blogging pimp…marketing their wares so they could make more cash. I don’t like being played or used. In the future…send me products at your own peril. If it’s good I’ll blog about it…if it sucks…I’ll also blog about. If you don’t want honesty…don’t send it. There are other blogging pastors out there that have the gift of encouragement…I’m not one of them. There are other blogging pastors that love to get free stuff and will promote any crap sent to them…that ain’t me.
My desire was not for anyone to reconsider their loyalty to Christianity…my hope was that they would reconsider their desire to be a top-selling Christian music “star”. I was also wanting them to reconsider bugging me for free marketing!!!