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Throughout the 80s, Christian rock started to become a staple in the music industry, fueled by bands such as Stryper. Billboard Magazine started to post the top 10 Christian rock songs, and some radio stations were starting to play Christian rock. Bands such as DC Talk, Newsboys, Jars of Clay, Audio Adrenaline and many others achieved commercial success. This list excludes bands that are primarily heavy metal or hardcore punk, those bands can be found on the list of Christian metal bands and list of Christian hardcore bands.
The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music defines CCM as "music that appeals to self-identified fans of contemporary Christian music on account of a perceived connection to what they regard as Christianity". Based on this definition, this list includes artists who work in the Christian music industry as well as artists in the general market, whose lyrics reflect their faith or where members are identified as Christians. The band's own desire to be considered as part of the genre are not a consideration.