17 November 2010

Christian marketing

I've heard some discussions in my book world, in my video production world and speculated that the same is true in music the music world. All of these in regard to Christian products.

I know that when a book or video distributor/printer becomes successful they have guidelines. This can be good in that it guides them to choose projects that are a good fit for their company, but I'm beginning to suspect that some of the parameters and rules placed on art by the big companies, publishers, distributors (THEM for lack of a better term) have turned it into a repetitious formula. The danger with this is that new artists or styles don't find a commercial voice even if they have minor success on local levels.

It's like THEY by finding a formula of movies, books, or dare I say it music, dictate what can and cannot be popular. Now this is true in both secular and Christian circles but I've been thinking about it in regard to the Christian market place.

I heard a lecture about the so-called rules for a Christian movie that places like Sony are putting on things they will distribute. It's not moral convictions. It's just that x + y has equaled marketing success. SO, no sex, no bad words, no, no whatever the rules fill in the blank. Christian books have similar limits. I once heard an acquiring editor for a Christian press say they did not accept any book with a divorced protagonist or significant other. So how believable and realistic are these pieces? Bad guys who aren't too bad (no swearing). Good guys who are, well, too perfect (no sins). Do you ever see something that doesn't quite ring true but it was pretty good, just not quite? Maybe it didn't have believable characters. Maybe it followed the formula for financial, marketing success but not necessarily the most satisfying story it could be. Maybe a tiny bit of reality was squeezed out of it so it would fit better in the Christian system.

I had been thinking these things in my head driving around and I was listening to the radio. I'm a station flipper when left alone. I flip til I like a song then flip again. I kept trying the Christian station and flipping away. It was all that sort of country sounding alternative songs and all sounding the same (and not to my taste). It occurred to me that the Christian radio mavens and masters have done the same thing that the Christian book and movie guardians had. Only one style is getting through because it fits the formula. I'm absolutely positive there are Christians out there with other musical sounds and granted I'm a flipper so there is much I miss, but still.

Not to say the secular world doesn't do the same thing, but it's disappointing as someone who wants to move in those circles to think I have to fit some odd uncomfortable formula to be considered "legitimate." Sorry to say I'm probably not gonna fit.

1 comment:

  1. I just realized that when I commented on this originally several days ago that I didn't confirm my comment so it didn't take.

    I absolutely hear you. Bad guys (and many "good" guys) swear. Therefore it is conspicuous when book or movie characters do not, unless some reason is specifically addressed in the story. Also, protagonists are going to be flawed if they are to be real.

    Believe it or not, this is one of the things I love about reading the Bible. It is real and unsanitized. The very basis of Christian Scripture and Christian doctrine is that all humans are deeply flawed and in need of a Savior, so the Bible doesn't waste time making flawed people appear perfect or even somewhat wholesome.

    The crudities aren't really filtered out either, though I think a lot of that sort of thing is culturally specific. Even Jesus swore to make a point (Matt 5:22), but he used a term that existed in His time rather than one that we would recognize today. I dare say that large swaths of the Bible wouldn't be considered "legitimate" if they were written today.