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date: 24 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Monique Ingalls’ essay, on the “British invasion” of U.K. contemporary evangelical congregational worship songs into the U.S. market, points to how a transnational musical network provides ways for powerful individuals within the music industry to locate “authentic” religious faith. The U.K. worship music industry imagined different uses and, consequently, formats for its music than that of the American-based Christian music industry: the American-based industry modeled its songs on pop, focusing on radio-friendly short song formats; but U.K. industry modeled its music and performances on charismatic worship services that had a long and powerful emotional trajectory. As a set of U.S. Christian music industry elites traveled to the U.K. and experienced U.K. performances, they began to locate “authentic” worship in the developing U.K. style—largely through their own embodied experiences of worship. These mobile individuals laid the groundwork for the “British invasion” of the U.S. Christian music market, which led to a new genre term: “modern worship.” While Ingalls sees these industry executives as real agents, she also interprets their experiences and choices as part of an emergent discourse in which, as she aptly puts it, “religious rationales [exist] side by side, and in many ways justify, the capitalist logic within the evangelical media industry.”

Keywords: Christianity, music, U.K., U.S.A., British invasion, Christian contemporary music, transnationalism, authenticity, popular music, worship music, music industry

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