The trouble with Salem

Basically, it turns whatever it touches to trash, according to David Sessions (h/t, RDB). Money quote:

[A]s long as the lumbering Salem monopoly controls the Christian music press, what Christians read about God’s music will be just as bad as the websites in the Salem network look.


For now, the Salem monopoly’s presence is here to keep Christian music’s quality in the toilet. I’m not saying they shouldn’t go after every dime they can make in Christian music media, just that someone should stay around to keep it real. Here’s hoping a few good artists—and good writers—outlast the dynasty.

The whole thing is here.

The writing has never been very good at the SN, but that has more to do with the cultural differences between conservative Christianity in the southern tradition than it does with who’s owned it. Certainly the SN has drifted appreciably toward the Salem aesthetic in the past few years, especially the new website, but many of those changes improved the situation.

Of course you could argue persuasively that that says more about what we started with than the quality of what we’ve got now. But the main thing to take away from the SN’s evolution as part of Salem, I think,  is that the differences between southern and the rest of the Christian  music world seem to have insulated the Singing News from the more intense Saleminization techniques that a product or property from CCM would have experienced. Plus, the SN just isn’t that big a part of the Salem pie, when it gets right down to it, so there’s not a huge payoff to do more than tinker.

Email this Post


  1. Rob wrote:

    I think since Salem has taken over the SN publication it has taken a turn for the worse. You can’t hardly make a comment on the SN Forums without getting a threatening note from a mod or banned from the site. I for one would like to see Salem turn the SN back over to the former owners or to someone else that is interested in Southern Gospel Music. When Salem purchased it they thought they could make a big buck from it. Like all SG there is very little money in SG for the groups or the products.

  2. scope wrote:

    SN magazine has continued to put out fewer pages, while increasing the price. I’ve been a subscriber for nearly 25 years, but may not be much longer.

  3. RDB wrote:

    Sometimes the assumption is made that the CCM end of things is more professional and sophisticated or (insert your own fancy word here) than the SG side. It really isn’t as far ahead, though, as we awe-struck yokels from the backwoods might assume.

    CCM and its relatives are more urban, popular, and profitable than SG but not necessarily better run. SG would do well to look to its own internal strengths and recognize its weaknesses in order to determine its future trajectory, rather than assuming that the answers can be implanted from somewhere else. I think, incidentally, that’s one thing that this site can help with, although the musings of one academic and his enraged readers may not really get us that far . . .

  4. Ron F wrote:

    I dont have the money to buy Singing News. Just wondering what would it cost to purchase The SN Magazine? Anybody have a Ballpark figure??

  5. Extra Ink wrote:

    How many people does the SN have on staff?

  6. cdguy wrote:

    RonF– I think the cover price is still $5.00. If your local Christian bookstore doesn’t have it, they can get it from New Day Distributors.

  7. Wade wrote:

    The last SN thread had maybe 3 post. I hate to add to this one… but think the lack of post shows how UNIMPORTANT the SN has become!! Looks like 4 of 6 post are piled on complaints and the other 2 are question that the answers do not matter much…much like the SN itself!!

    Ron… if you have money to burn I have a lighter.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked * Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.