Let Me Be Frank With You
By Frank Breeden, President of the Gospel Music Association, GMA Today June/July 2000 Issue

The "new vs. old" debate is a permanent fixture in the human experience. Most commonly, it occurs between generations. In our industry it usually is a discussion about music, "contemporary vs. traditional."

As of late, the "new/old" discussion has centered on methods, specifically technology. The things we do, as well as the way we do them, are competing with new options as never before. Retailing, performing, recording, storing, distributing, promoting and tracking music is currently having the ride of its life.

Recently, Howard Rachinski (CEO of Christian Copyright Licensing, Inc.) spoke to the 74th annual convention of the Church Music Publishers Association (CMPA) in Bern, Switzerland. CMPA is the organization of member companies that own music copyrights. In his report Mr. Rachinski presented a document that speaks to the "new vs. old" issue quite poignantly. At this writing, I was unable to attribute its authorship, but its point is timeless. If you like TOP TEN lists, you'll love this one:

Ten Reasons for Opposing the "New" Music Trend

10. It's too new, like an unknown language.

9. It's not as melodious as the more established style.

8. There are so many songs that it is impossible to learn them all.

7. This new music creates disturbances and causes people to act in an indecent and disorderly manner.

6. It places too much emphasis on instrumental music rather than on Godly lyrics.

5. The lyrics are often worldly, even blasphemous.

4. It is not needed, since preceding generations have gone to heaven without it.

3. It is a contrivance to get money.

2. It monopolizes the Christians' time and encourages them to stay out late.

1. These new musicians are young upstarts, and some of them are lewd and loose persons.

Reportedly, these ten reasons are adapted from a statement directed against the use of HYMNS written in 1723!!!

Humans have an uncanny ability to resist the new and different. Christians are not immune to this syndrome. We usually spice up the debate by hurling scriptures at one another in Christian love, of course! In this sea of change we all are facing these days, let's be careful to remember that we have a lot of say in how this change affects us. Our personal attitude can make a tremendous difference. Specifically, our belief about what we can do, will play a large role in the actions we take and the quality of the results we achieve.

We need to remember that change is not necessarily bad or good. It is inevitable, unpredictable, and always needs to be evaluated. In other words, we need to be thinking, not just reacting. These are times to remember another saying I recently heard for the first time: "Don't lose your head, it's got your brain in it!"


Reprinted from GMA Today March/April Issue, courtesy of Frank Breeden and the Gospel Music Association