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Spiritual Entertainment: The Religious Genre in Book, Home Entertainment and Music







First published on www.nielsen.com

For many Americans wrapping up their Easter and Passover celebrations, April showers and May flowers have a spiritual tone. Holidays can revive consumers’ interest in related genres—for example, romance genre sales rise around Valentine’s Day. And this spring’s celebrations were no exception: the religious genre’s popularity—and sales—grew this month. By exploring how consumers connect with this genre—whether through music, religious television specials, Bibles and everything in between—over the holidays and year-round, marketers can identify new opportunities to extend the reach of both religious and mainstream content.


In 2013, over 10.3 million Christian/Gospel music titles were sold. While this is small in comparison to music market as a whole (3.5% percent of total album sales), the genre is healthy, with hits coming from established artists and new talent alike. And sales for some titles from this genre can reach levels comparable to those in the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. For example, the Christian R&B chart ranges from GRAMMY-winning artists like Gospel crooner CeCe Winans (who has sold over 2 million albums to date) to Christian rapper Lecrae (who has sold over 2.2 million tracks to date). On the Christian rock charts, Casting Crowns, a GRAMMY-winning group of minister rockers, has sold over 7 million tracks and 3.3 million records to date. These artists have all thrived while staying true to their religious roots and without the intention crossing over into mainstream genres—a decision that’s typically made to garner more exposure and revenue.

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