Christian Sales Pick Up At Year's End

The waning months of 2003 brought good news to the Christian/gospel music industry, as U.S. sales showed signs of rebounding.

The waning months of 2003 brought good news to the Christian/gospel music industry, as U.S. sales showed signs of rebounding.

Sales of Christian/gospel music ended the year down 5.2%, according to Nielsen SoundScan; however, this was an improvement from the mid-year point, when sales were down 10.4% from the same period in 2002. During 2003, 47.1 million albums were sold, vs. 49.6 million in 2002.

Gospel Music Assn. president John Styll calls the rebound "a bit of a surprise. Over the last six months, we'd gain a half a percent here and a half a percent there, and that all looked good. You never know if that's going to dial back again, but the good news is that it got even stronger, especially at the Christmas season."

Styll attributes sales picking up to "an improvement in the economy and the fourth quarter, which is a good sales period, and there's product out there that people want to buy. MercyMe is continuing real strong. Stacie Orrico is real strong. It
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