Wednesday: Christian Rock

Wednesday 2/7/2003File sharing is wrong, right? As the RIAA is fond of telling us, it's not only against the law, it's rampantly immoral.

Wednesday 2/7/2003
File sharing is wrong, right? As the RIAA is fond of telling us, it's not only against the law, it's rampantly immoral. Bread from the mouths of starving artists, and all that. Fair enough. Furthermore, the RIAA says, the decline in record sales is entirely due to this downloading lark. Nothing whatsoever to do with them releasing far fewer recordings and charging more for them, heavens no. It's purely down to these immoral acts of thievery. So how come, as Newsweek reports, the Christian music world is suffering disproportionately from the falloff in music sales? Nobody listens to Christian rock except Christians -- with very few exceptions -- but that must mean that the Christians are even greater immoral pirates than the rest of us. Which, to be fair, hardly seems likely. Most of the God-botherers I know act no more or less morally than anyone else, although they do agonise about it more. The answer? Again according to Newsweek, they say they're "spreading God's word". It does seem as if they're let off the hook -- "It's good people that are doing this," says BMG executive Terry Hemmings, a member of the Gospel Music Association's task force. "We're not going to say, 'You're ungodly and you're going to hell because you're file sharing'." Which is nicer than the RIAA can manage: you wouldn't be surprised if they hooked up with the Taliban as brothers in condemnation of the evil ones. Perhaps the last word should go to the rock bands themselves -- who, predictably, return to the Good Book. "Christian recording artists would prefer to leave the problem in God's hands. Mark Lee of the rock band Third Day says that while downloading may cut into sales -- in the last month, 297,726 people shared Third Day songs -- it may also win fans. "I really don't know what to do," he says. But when fans asked about it during a recent Internet chat, Lee typed four words: "Thou shalt not steal."