Market research conducted by Fender has revealed that about a third of instruments sold are used for Christian praise and worship music, a genre within contemporary Christian music that focuses on open guitar soundscapes and is performed in churches.
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The brand also revealed that, internally, it acknowledges the importance of the scene and aims to support the community “on every stage”.
As Christianity Today notes, Fender’s Matt Watts told Ultimate Guitar earlier this year: “At Fender, we have recognized the importance of P&W for quite some time now. Given our mission to support artists at every level and on every stage, we are determined to serve as a major supporter of the worship community.
“We have learned that nearly a third of all instruments sold are used in the worship setting and there is no doubt that worship Leaders and Music Directors are a source of musical inspiration for so many players. Contemporary Christian and gospel artists writing and performing worship songs continue to thrive reaching millions of churchgoers and music lovers around the world.”
The research also revealed that about a million musicians perform weekly at their church, this number no doubt contributing to the large amount of sales that come from the scene.
Praise and worship music is comparatively uncommon in the UK and Europe but is popular in Protestant churches in the US and Australia. Leaders of the scene include Bethel Music, a record label associated with California’s Bethel Church, as well as Hillsong worship, a performance group associated with Melbourne’s Hillsong Church.
The genre’s players share a keen focus on guitar gear, with YouTube home to many rig-rundown videos from P&W guitarists, whose pedalboards are often dotted with ambient reverbs, digital delays and low-gain overdrives.
Christianity Today also noted that the findings should be “no surprise” if you’ve talked to a worship leader. Adam Perez, a postdoctoral fellow in liturgical studies at Duke Divinity School told the publication: “Worship leaders are always commenting about wanting to get a new guitar. There are conversations about needing to ‘up my guitar’ and discussions about types of guitar. For a lot of worship leaders, the guitar is that companion that marks your journey and marks your development as an authentic worship leader.”
Given that restrictions related to COVID-19 are being eased in many places around the world, the frequency of worship-related live performances should soon be on the up – and with them, P&W’s share of the gear market.