The new weekly sales-based Top 20 chart is being launched today and officially rank the success of Christian and Gospel recording artists for the first time in the UK. The chart will be compiled by the Official Charts Company and launched in partnership with Christian child development charity Compassion.
The launch comes in response to strong growth within the market and Compassion UK is delighted to be part of this exciting new chapter for Christian Music within the UK. Among the artists set to feature in the chart are many of Compassion's Ambassadors, who regularly speak out on behalf of the poor and the ministry of Compassion.
"Compassion UK are thrilled to be partnering with the launch of The Christian & Gospel Charts, we are honored to have many ambassadors for our ministry among Christian Music artists in the UK as we work to bring Worship and Justice together," said Ian Hamilton Compassion UK's CEO.
The Official Christian & Gospel Albums Chart will be broadcast every week on leading Christian radio stations Premier Radio and UCB, as well as being published weekly at www.officialcharts.com, the home of the UK's Official Charts online.
Christian and gospel music account for 7 per cent of all recorded music sales in the US, with 26 million albums sold in 2012 – more than the sales of classical, blues and jazz combined.
"This is a defining moment and changes the landscape for Christian and Gospel music in the UK. Christian music has always been a part of society in bringing hope and encouragement. With the development of this new chart it will bring significant profile to this growing genre," said Jonathan Brown, Managing Director, Integrity Music and on behalf of Christian & Gospel Music Labels.
The chart is being launched at the St James Theatre, Victoria. Musician and TV vocal coach, David Grant will host the evening where industry leaders will be joined by artists from Christian and Gospel music, including former Delirious? frontman Martin Smith and London Community Gospel Choir.
Here's what the labels say:
"I'm excited to see Official Chart Company recognise the importance of the Christian/Gospel genre in the UK. This information will bring more media attention and consumer awareness to our artists and songs which is at the core of our mission as a company. It will also help our distribution partners and retailers make more informed marketing and advertising decisions improving their efficiency in this ever changing and global music market." Bill Hearn President of EMI CMG
"It's exciting to see recognition and measurability of something that's be under the radar for so long come to reality. The OCC charts will, I believe, make a massive contribution to profiling the real significance of Christian music." Jonathan L Bugden, Managing Director of Joining The Dots
"For years Authentic Media have believed that a music chart, which accurately reflects what is actually being sold in Christian outlets, would benefit the whole trade and provide a core stock focus necessary to create interest and therefore drive up sales. With the launch of the OCC we finally have that opportunity and our hope is that it will provide a catalyst for suppliers and retailers alike to work together to shout about the great Christian music that is out there!" Malcolm Down, Authentic Media