Home Press Releases Christian music sales rise in 2006

Christian music sales rise in 2006

Christian music sales rise in 2006


The Gospel Music Association (GMA) and Nielsen Christian SoundScan have announced 2006 year-end sales data for the 52-week period ending December 31, 2006. This isn't just about the Christian Hip Hop sales but it's still important because it's about the Christian market in music sales.

“2006 was a good year for Christian/Gospel music.  Album sales were up, albeit slightly; digital sales continue to rise and most importantly, the impact of the Gospel through music reached beyond even what our sales reveal.  Everywhere you look, in books, games, TV and movies, music that is inspired by faith seems more prevalent than ever before,” said John W. Styll, president and CEO of the GMA.  “There may be many reasons why this is true, but I think chief among them is that people seem to be drawn to the inspiring and compassionate message of Gospel music amid uncertain times.” 

Christian/Gospel music sales in 2006 represent music that is sold at both Christian and mainstream retail and is compiled by the GMA from Nielsen Christian SoundScan, the data information system that tracks point-of-purchase sales of recorded music product. 


(In Millions – CDs, cassettes, digital albums and digital tracks)

Units sold  2006 2005 %Chg.

                         44.9 43.5 +3.4


(In Millions – all albums and digital track equivalent albums)

Units sold 2006 2005 %Chg.

                      40.2 39.6  +1.5 


(Reflects sales for all titles in the Nielsen Christian SoundScan system sold at Christian and mainstream retail and through digital channels. It excludes Christmas catalog titles.)

Title/Record Company     Artist   Units Sold/2006

  1. Precious Memories (Arista/Sony/Provident) Alan Jackson             1288595
  2. Flyleaf (Octone)    Flyleaf    488828
  3. Hero (GospoCentric)    Kirk Franklin   424269
  4. Lifesong (Reunion)    Casting Crowns   398160
  5. WoW Hits 2007 (Sparrow)   Various    363395
  6. Define the Great Line (T&N)   Underoath   316128
  7. Coming Up to Breathe (INO)   MercyMe   309423
  8. WoW Gospel 2006 (Verity)   Various    301534
  9. Wherever You Are (Essential)   Third Day   295721
  10. Piece of My Passion (Flow)   Juanita Bynum   287028
  11. WoW Hits 2006 (Sparrow)   Various    277663
  12. Arriving (Sixsteprecords)   Chris Tomlin   253757
  13. Mary Mary (Columbia/Integrity)  Mary Mary   252323
  14. WoW Worship Aqua (Provident)   Various    234557
  15. Testify (Atlantic)    P.O.D.    225850
  16. All I Really Want for Christmas (Sparrow) Steven Curtis Chapman  220836
  17. Restored (BEC Recordings)   Jeremy Camp   216175
  18. See The Morning (Sixsteprecords)  Chris Tomlin   203095
  19. Three Wooden Crosses (Word)   Various    193867
  20. Open the Eyes of My Heart (INO)  Various    188483
  21. Casting Crowns (Reunion)   Casting Crowns   175240
  22. Chronicles of Narnia (Disney/EMICMG) Various    162352
  23. Day by Day (Atlantic)    Yolanda Adams   156224
  24. Hearts of the Innocent (BEC Recordings) Kutless    156052
  25. MMHMM (Gotee)    Relient K   155585


“Alan Jackson represents the significant impact that various country artists are having in our culture with faith-inspired recordings,” said Styll, who noted that the Christian/Gospel music industry shares Nashville/Music City as its “home” with country music. In addition to Jackson’s record, Three Wooden Crosses, a compilation CD featuring Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Amy Grant and others was among the top-selling Christian/Gospel music albums sold in 2006.  Also notable, Alabama released Songs of Inspiration, claiming the top spot on Billboard's "Top Country Albums" and “Top Christian Albums" chart, marking the first time the legendary country group entered any album chart in the top position.   

Country was not the only story in 2006, Styll added, noting that the breakout success of artists like Flyleaf, Underoath, Juanita Bynum, Kutless and Mat Kearney and the continued popularity of Kirk Franklin, Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns and others contribute to a positive outlook for the long-term health of Christian/Gospel music. 

Additional Year-End Notes and Facts: 

*According to Nielsen SoundScan’s 2006 Year-end report the Christian/Gospel category of overall album sales joined classical, soundtracks and Latin as the only genres that grew in sales in 2006.  Christian/Gospel music sales are the largest of those four genres and represents 6.75 percent of all album sales. 

*Overall Christian/Gospel album sales were up 1.5 percent for the year when factoring in digital track equivalency compared to the overall music industry’s overall music sales downturn of 1.2 percent. (Nielsen SoundScan calculates digital track equivalency by converting every 10 individual tracks to one album unit). Excluding digital track equivalents, Christian/Gospel album sales are still up, 1.3 percent. 

*Legal digital music sales continue on an impressive growth trajectory, with a total of 5.2 million tracks sold a 22.9 increase over 2005. Digital albums sales nearly doubled from 597,000 in 2005 to 1.1 million in 2006, a 91 percent increase.  The top-selling digital album was Mat Kearney’s Nothing Left to Lose which had 28,456 in digital sales, and the top-selling digital track was “Beautiful Love” from The Afters, the 2006 recipient of the Dove Award for New Artist of the Year, with 189,461 units downloaded. 

*Mainstream retail outlets sold 64 percent of all Christian/Gospel music sales while Christian retail accounted for 36 percent of gospel music sales.   

*The top 10 markets in 2006 were Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Chicago, Washington D.C., Houston, Philadelphia, Seattle-Tacoma and Tampa/St. Petersburg. 

*The most popular styles of Christian/Gospel music were AC/pop (23%), black gospel (20%) and rock (16%).  Praise & worship followed with approximately 10 percent of sales.  

*The top-selling albums in the AC/pop category were:

    Lifesong (Reunion)     Casting Crowns   

    WoW Hits 2007 (Sparrow)    Various    

    Coming Up to Breathe (INO)   MercyMe  

    WoW Hits 2006 (Sparrow)    Various    

    All I Really Want for Christmas (Sparrow)  Steven Curtis Chapman   

*The top-selling albums in the black gospel category were:

      Hero (GospoCentric)    Kirk Franklin

      WoW Gospel 2005 (Verity)    Various

     Piece of My Passion (Flow)    Juanita Bynum

      Mary Mary (Columbia/Integrity)   Mary Mary

       Day By Day (Atlantic)    Yolanda Adams 

*The top-selling albums in the rock category were:

    Flyleaf (Octone)     Flyleaf 

    Define the Great Line (T&N)   Underoath

    Wherever You Are (Essential)   Third Day

    Testify (Atlantic)     P.O.D.

    Hearts of the Innocent (BEC Recordings)  Kutless 

*The top-selling albums in the praise & worship category were:

    Arriving (Sixsteprecords)    Chris Tomlin   

    WoW Worship Aqua (Provident)   Various    

    See The Morning (Sixsteprecords)   Chris Tomlin   

    Open the Eyes of My Heart (INO)   Various

    Anything Worth Saying (Brash Music/Word)  Aaron Shust     

*The top-selling digital album downloads were:

    Nothing Left to Lose (inpop)    Mat Kearney

    Flyleaf (Octone)     Flyleaf    

    See The Morning (Sixsteprecords)   Chris Tomlin   

    Precious Memories (Arista/Sony/Provident)  Alan Jackson            

     Chronicles of Narnia (Disney/EMICMG)  Various 



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