Church bands and makers of praise and worship (aka ’P&W’) music account for roughly a third of all new instrument and audio equipment sales, according to research from Fender.
It’s not too much of a stretch to say that most guitarists will either have played with a church band, or know a musician with a background in P&W music. However, now the true scale of the P&W market has been brought to light thanks to some research by Fender.
Ultimate Guitar cites a Fender calculation that approximately around $600 million – or around 30% of the estimated $1.5-2 billion dollars spent on music-making gear each year in the US – comes from players or organisations involved in P&W music.
In the same piece, Matt Watts (Fender, VP of Marketing) comments: “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.”
What’s more Fender also estimates that 1 million musicians play church gigs on a weekly basis, while retailer Sweetwater told the firm that one in six of its reps are assigned to P&W sales.
Religious publication Christianity Today asked Adam Perez, a postdoctoral fellow in liturgical studies at Duke Divinity School, for his take on the story.
“Worship leaders are always commenting about wanting to get a new guitar,” said Perez. “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.”