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ITunes have removed the Christian and Gospel music chart from their categories of chart listings as part of a series of changes to the App store and iTunes music.
The internet radio section has been incorporated to the music section and the educational content on iTunes U has moved to the podcast app.
It’s not the only chart to be removed – several others have been deactivated, such as Greatest Hits, Music Videos, New Artists and Comedy.
Although the Christian and Gospel chart is gone, many see this as a welcome change because of the limited number of copies needed to be sold to make it into the charts, rendering it misleading.
Ryan J. Bruce, who runs Music Services Company, Sanaa Music Ventures, says this wasn’t bad news for the Christian music industry: “I think it depends on how you look at it, I have used the iTunes chart for discovering new music and what’s happening in different genres but we must remember the Christian and Gospel category is still active where you can still find the new releases in that genre, so there’s still a presence there”.
He added that the music industry has changed from people buying music to download: “the industry has shifted towards streaming and Gospel is represented on that. Playlists are becoming the news charts these days, we have Spotify, they an innovative way to discover new music and in this digital age it’s not a bad thing…I think it just means that people need to focus on other ways to promote and discover Christian and Gospel music”.
He highlighted some of the problems with the iTunes playlist and why it isn’t such a loss: “the chart systems aren’t just based on sales – apple have a series of algorithms they don’t disclose to the public…so, because of the lack of sales and frequent releases in the Gospel genre, it allowed people who didn’t sell in huge numbers to chart highly. Artists would often use that to claim a level of fame or notoriety which really wasn’t a reality”
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