About 2 years ago, after spending a few months figuring out my new recording equipment, I began to record hymns and solo piano music in earnest. Having recently surpassed 1,000,000 views on these videos, I would like to share some very encouraging statistics from my efforts. The 2000+ hymns I have recorded are drawn from the complete recordings of the 1955 Presbyterian Hymnbook, 1940 Episcopal Hymnal, 1940 Broadman Hymnal, and the 1941 Lutheran Hymnal (almost done) along with a couple of dozen new hymns by living composers. The vast majority are pre-1930’s hymns.
YouTube has provided some very interesting statistics on the demographics of these hymn enthusiasts. The core audience of YT is under 35 and largely male. If there was ever a niche which might not fit this core demographic, one would expect it would be old Christian hymns.
The most surprising aspect of my audience has been its youth and maleness! The under 34 group makes up about 45% of my entire audience and is 66% male. Praise be to God! In all of my recordings I simply play the hymns straight up – no frills or flash – no “entertainment” value at all. And if you want to hear singing, you would need to provide that yourself. We often hear anecdotal evidence of the interest in historical hymnody amongst the young and here I think we begin to move beyond anecdotal evidence.
Despite what might be taught in seminaries and church conferences, the young do have an abiding interest in historical Christian hymnody. I strongly believe if it were not for the corporate ownership of “Christian music” and the marketing drive to promote their product, church music would not be the wasteland it has become.
I have received much support from this group throughout this entire endeavor and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. So take heart, the Lord has preserved a remnant. And after getting one million views I can say with confidence people, and especially young people, want good church music.