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Contemporary Christian music sales rise again

Contemporary Christian and gospel music reached a new U.S. sales record in 2001, selling almost 50 million units, according to an industry organization.

The total album sales of the Christian music were 13.5 percent higher than in 2000, while overall music industry album sales dropped about 3 percent, the Christian Music Trade Association announced.

The total sales of contemporary Christian and gospel albums stood at 49,965,000 units at the end of 2001, according to SoundScan, a computerized network that collects sales data from retailers and compiles the results for industry reports. The total number of sales -- marking an increase at mainstream retailers, Christian chains and independent vendors -- exceeded 2000 sales of 44,031,000 as well as 1999 sales of 46,852,000.

"The substantial growth of contemporary Christian and gospel music sales in the face of declining sales in the overall music industry confirms to me that consumers see the unique role our music plays in encouraging and inspiring hope through entertainment," said Frank Breeden, president of the Nashville-based Christian Music Trade Association.

Mainstream retailers saw a 15 percent increase in sales of Christian music, selling 26,631,000 units. Stores affiliated with CBA, the trade association of Christian retailers, had a 4.1 percent gain in album sales over last year, with a total of 21,649,000. Direct and Internet sales increased to 1,685,000 units, an increase of 87 percent over 2000.

Star Tribune