Interesting Statistic: Chapman vs. Gaither

Steven Curtis Chapman, the most popular artist in Contemporary Christian Music of all time, has sold over 10 million units (CDs/tapes/DVDs/probably 8-tracks and LPs) in his career.

The Gaither Homecoming Series has sold over 17 million units.

Granted, Chapman has sold more units per project, having released fewer projects. But it’s still a fascinating statistic for any who would say that Southern Gospel is a forgotten niche.

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23 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. I’m not sure that’s even a fair comparison. You’re comparing the sales of one artist to those of many, many artist compiled onto an album.

    If you compare the GVB to SCC then that would be different.

    • I think I agree with Steve here.

    • Both are long-term, recognized brands in the Christian bookstore market. While different guest and regular artists have helped Homecoming sales, the series itself is larger than any one artist, except Gaither himself.

      • Right. That’s our point.

  2. This time I am going to argue. 😉

    I believe Amy Grant is the most successful CCM artist of all time – she has sold over 30 million albums.

    Also, Michael W. Smith’s sales are approaching 15 million.

    • Very interesting. 😉

      I do believe SCC has won the most Dove Awards, though, but (back to the thread earlier today) album sales are indeed a solid metric.

    • I wondered what Smitty’s sales looked like. I knew they were over 13 million. I also knew Amy had sold over 30 million. However, I’m not sure whether it’s fair to consider her a PURELY CCM artist, since she sold well in the pop and country markets as well. If you cross over successfully, it’s easier to “push units.”

      • I agree a considerable part of Amy Grant’s success came beyond the scope of CCM.

        That being said, it’s as fair to consider Amy Grant purely CCM as it is to consider the Homecoming series purely Southern Gospel.

      • Ha! Tough, but fair I think DBM.

        Old Bill is a phenomena, ably assisted by “Miss Gloria”, as Ernie calls her, what he has done for SGM is legendary and exemplary, but I do agree with the majority Daniel,

        this comparison is apples and watermelons,never mind pears:-)!

  3. I have to agree that comparing Gaither to SCC is a little unfair. Its like comparing an artist to a record label. Does anybody buy Bill’s music to hear him sing? I love the GVB, in fact I consider myself more of a GVB and EHSS fan than Southern Gospel fan, but I buy the GVB music to hear everybody but Bill Gaither. This not an attack on Bill Gaither, he’s a great song writer and talent evaluator, just not someone who sells albums because of his singing ability. I think it would be more fair to compare Gaither and another small record label.

    Please, don’t take these comments as anti Gaither. I just don’t believe its fair to compare a Singer to a promoter, its like comparing Don King and Mike Tyson – same general field of work, totally different occupations.

  4. But also, you are comparing a variety show to one artist.

  5. Here’s the thing, though. I work in the industry now, and we’d view both as brands, both as products that will sell or not sell in bookstores and elsewhere depending on the strength of the brand, and both as predictable annual tours.

    Are there differences? Yes, as some of you have vociferously noted. But from an industry standpoint, when the metric under consideration is units sold, the comparison is valid.

    (Take an entirely SG example. At Crossroads, the efforts we’d put into getting the NQC series into bookstores are virtually identical to the efforts we’d put into a Talley Trio release.)

    • On that point Daniel I will concede – since I argued from the same premise on another thread!

      If we view “Gaither Home Coming” as a brand then the comparison has merit, though Coca-Cola sells a LOT of product which is not called “Coca-Cola”, they are still Coca-Cola products.

      • OK. 🙂

        And “Gaither Homecoming” and “Steven Curtis Chapman” are indeed both marketed by their respective companies (actually, both distributed through EMI’s Christian Music Group) as brands.

      • Point proven. QED.

      • Thanks, but what is QED short for?

        The closest I could come up with, with a father in the automotive industry, is Quality Emissions Department, but that just doesn’t fit the context.

      • I think it’s an acronym of Latin words.

      • I’ve heard of SDG, Soli Deo Gloria, but not QED.

      • It stands for quod erat demonstrandum. It’s used at the end of logical proofs, and it means “what was to be demonstrated…” (has been demonstrated).

        Time was I could have told you all that without looking it up, but yes, I did use google to refresh my memory. 😉

      • Thanks!

      • Quite Enough Debate.

      • Ha!

        Sometimes the truth is far simpler than research might suggest! 🙂

      • I thought it was a brand of men’s grooming products.