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How YouTube Mediations of Global Contemporary Congregational Songs Contribute to an Understanding of the Genre

In: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture
Author:
Daniel ThorntonHead of Worship, Alphacrucis College, Parramatta, Australia, daniel.thornton@ac.edu.au

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Abstract

Contemporary congregational songs (ccs) are a global genre of Christian worship, driven presently from Western production centres. Streaming media platforms, in particular YouTube, have become essential vehicles for disseminating these songs globally, as well as a way for fans to contribute to the popularity of songs through views, likes, comments, sharing, and uploading their own fan-created videos. While this activity has had some scholarly attention, it has not focussed on the varied forms these videos take and how they contribute to and nuance the definition of the genre. This article utilises the most sung songs data from recent Christian Copyright Licensing International reports across five regions to establish the 32 most sung ccs globally. A media studies analysis is then conducted, with contributions from musicology and theology, of the most viewed versions of those ccs on YouTube. Three typical video forms are identified and discussed in relation to the way they reflect and shape perceptions of the contemporary congregational song genre.

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