New worship songs other than Soul Survivor, Redman, Hughes, Tomlin, Hillsongs

Monday, September 24, 2007
For the sake of debate I've started a discussion on Just for the fun of it. I've re created it here with replies. I'll keep people's names private. Feel free to offer your thoughts.

Apologies for lack of formatting and its all quite long. So wade through it and give me some of your commets

Right here's my original post:

Has anyone got any suggestions of good new songs or worship leaders that are outside the usual Soul Survivor, Redman, Hughes, Tomlin, Hillsongs , Vineyard circles? Do you think we have narrowed down where we look to for new worship songs? Is it just too easy to buy the latest edition of Soul Survivor and never look anywhere else for songs as this is where the newest and coolest songs are. Are we being worldly by the way our worship music has become consumer driven with the heavily marketed latest song? Should churches not be looking to their own worship leaders writing their own songs for their church?

Now here's some of the replies:

Mr X
In one sense Gareth I entirely agree, that we should seek to have songs rise up locally that are more of an expression of the local faith community we find ourselves in, and I think there are some great songs out there that are being lost off the radar due to the fact that they don't have access to established distribution chains which the likes of the churces/denominations/companys that you mentioned.Equally though I feel like the emergence of all the music written by those at soul survivor/Vineyard/Chris Tomlin etc. is enveloped in the soveriegnty of God, in that, God has used those movements/writers hugely in reviving contemporary worship in the UK, which in turn has given access points to thousands of people to meet with God, so in that sense I personally dont feel overly troubled that I buy a Tim Hughes album and say "wow these are great songs, and I feel they express the things that God is speaking to us about too" and Ill use them, in part I believe that God has brought these people to the fore because there has been such little local song writing activity.Again as you said I hope that song writing for the local church does fully emerge and as that happens the need for such a dominance in Christian songwriting will decrease.As far as the consumerism you mentioned, I also struggle with many attitudes and presentation of Christian "products", but interms of worship music, I have two short thoughts, firstly that in a way we have a wordly commercial distribution model that is being used, but it is in some way redeemed if it is building the kingdom of God and bringing glory to him, secondly, Some people (and please hear me that I am in no way being accusitory toward you here, as I have never met you and do not encounter this tone in anyway in your question) can have a very pessimistic, "believe the worst" attitude with regards to "Christian marketting" and as I said before I myself often have reservations regarding it, but in terms of the movements you have mentioned I have been fortunate to spend a little time with some people at soul survivor and to a lesser extent the vineyard and their hearts are genuinely to bless people with the songs they write and to see Gods Kingdom come, and we can sometimes mis-judge peoples hearts because of the distance we stand from them.Sorry this has been so long, but I share your interest in the worship commericalism, the rights and wrongs of it, and wanted to share the few ways I had though about and around it!

Cheers guys for the comments. Mr X I don't doubt the sincerity of many of the worship leaders though it easy to get cynical about the whole christian music industry, rightly or wrongly. I enjoy a lot of Redman, Hughes, Vineyard and Soul Survivor. Infact there's never a Sunday goes by that I or others in our church use Redman songs in leading. He's probably the Wesley of our era.But should we have such a cost on these things? I'm sure we've all heard this before that the gospel is free and Jesus never asked for payment for his services. I agree that these guys have to live and feed their families. Also sometimes when we buy stuff, it costs us more so we tend to value it and not take it for granted. Also I know these guys aren't millionaires and the likes of Stuart Townend drives about in an old clapped out car, but where does the money go too? Record companies? Distributors? Actually I'm interested to know how it all works. (This isn't judgemental but an actual question). I'm probably speaking out of ignorance as to how the Christian music industry works, so would be greatful for someone to inform me!I know Keith Green struggled with this whole aspect and he gave away music for free at his concerts for ages but then got taken on by Sparrow and started selling. Did Wesley sell he sheet music? Don't know, maybe he didApologies if this sounds judgemental but I'm happy to be wrong as the same question could be asked about my life and I would come up failing miserably but I would like to say I was heading towards simpler life (friends may argue the opposite), a life that asks of me, do I need this, am I being greedy, am I living by faith, am I being influenced by fashion, marketing?Suppose I'm not giving any solution but asking the question?It would be great to get someone's opinion from inside the worship music industry. See what really happens. Are there any industry people among us?Phil, can we get chords or music up for these songs that have been uploaded so we can use them in our churches.

Mr X
Gareth,I found an article recently from the BBC on where the money from a CD purchase goes to be very interesting, Ive copied it below, I imagine a similar arrangement exists in the Christian Music Industry.01 IntroductionWhen you hand over your hard-earned in a record shop for a CD, where does the money actually go? This section explains who gets what when you buy a CD.For the sake of this argument, we'll say that the average CD costs about £15.02 Starting at the ShopRecord shops get their merchandise from a distributor. The distributor doesn't buy records from the label; they merely ship them from the factory to the shops.Shops only pay for the CDs they actually sell. Any that don't sell are sent back to the label.A shop will pay about £8 for a CD that it sells to you for £15. That £8 is known as the Published Price to Dealer (PPD). PPD is an important number because it's used to calculate other royalties.When a CD is sold, the shop pays the distibutor for it. The distributor will deduct its fee - around £2 - and pass the rest on to the label. You can find out more about distributors here.So we've now got about £6 left of the PPD to pay the label, artists and everyone else.But to go back to our original £15 for a second, taking out the £8 PPD leaves £7 still with the shop. A little more than £2.20 of that will go to the government as VAT. That in turn leaves about £4.80 for the shop to pay staff and administration costs, heating, lighting, rent, business rates and all that stuff.03 The Artist's ShareWhat happens to the £6 we've got left from the previous page depends on the artists' situation and their record contract. Typically for a major label deal, the artist will receive about 16-19% of the PPD. It's important to remember that this is money from record sales, and it gets divided between the various full members of the band and their manager.So in an ideal world, the band would end up with somewhere between £1.20 and £1.50 per CD sold. In practise, there are all sorts of extra deductions that the record company will make from that, which will probably drop it to more like 90p to £1.10.Chances are though, they won't even see that. Most artists are massively in debt to their label by the time they put a record out. They'll have taken out advances, which are kind of like loans so they have some money to live on, and also to pay the costs of recording the album. These advances must all be paid off from the artists' share of the income from sales.In other words, the band won't see another red cent from their label until they've paid off all those debts. For a major deal this can be hundreds of thousands of pounds, which at £1 or so per record means that the artists have to sell hundreds of thousands of CDs before they see any money from sales. Some artists have had long careers spanning several albums without actually seeing any royalties from sales at all.For more on royalties, advances and deductions, see our guide to recording agreements.04 Mechanical RoyaltiesSo far, we know that the band members will get a share of the profits from the record, but suppose the performers didn't actually write the song? Maybe they did a cover version, or they're the kind of act that doesn't write and uses songwriters to supply them with material?The band wouldn't be selling records if it wasn't for the writer, so it's reasonable that the writer should get a share of sales income, too.The way this is done is through what are called Mechanical Royalties, or mechanicals for short. As a writer of a tune, you are entitled to a royalty whenever anyone makes a copy of your music for sale, and this is the mechanical royalty.Mechanical royalties vary slightly, but they're about 6% of PPD for a major label - about 90p in our example. This is shared between all the writers on the album. They don't get 90p each; the 90p is divided between all of them. For more information on mechanical royalties, see our guide to them.Normally a writer will have a publisher who will collect mechanicals on their behalf. So the money goes to the publisher first. They will then take about 40% as their commission and pass the rest on to their writer. For more information on publishing, check this link.But mechanicals don't only apply to writers who don't perform. If the person who wrote the song is a member of the band, they are still entitled to mechanical royalties. And this is in addition to their share of the sales income we described on the previous page.This can cause major problems within a band, as the one or two writer-members could start to see income from mechanicals while the non-writer members are still paying off their advances and seeing no income from the record. This is where a band agreement can help.05 Other PercentagesThere may also be other people who will receive a percentage of income from CD sales. Percentages, by the way, are known as 'points' in the trade. One point is approximately equal to 1% of income.High profile producers and sometimes even engineers can command a few points on a record - typically 3 but sometimes as many as 5 - as well as their regular fee. You can find more on producer royalties here.You sometimes also see 'executive producer' as a credit on a record. This is sometimes someone at the label who's made a significant contribution to the record and has been awarded a few points in exchange. Other times it's a way of getting a big name artist or producer associated with a new act. They may not have had anything to do with making the record, it's a way of getting their endorsement.06 The Final BillWe also need to allow about a quid to actually manufacture the disk. So, here's approximately how your £15 gets split up:Shop - £4.80VAT - £2.20Distributor - £2Artist - £1.20 (subject to possible deductions and paying off advances)Writers - 90p (although 36p of that may go to the publishers of those writers)Producer - 18pCD manufacture: £1Label - £2.7207 One-off CostsThere are also a number of one-off costs which need to be met in order to make a record and sell it.One of the major ones is the cost of actually recording the thing. This can run to hundreds of thousands of pounds.Studio time will be the bulk of that cost, but there will also be fees for the producer, engineer and any musicians who have been hired in to play special instruments or sing back vocals (you can read more about these people, known as session musicians, here.)One of the bits of this which is pretty unfair is that the recording costs have to be paid off by the band. And once they've done that, the label still owns the rights to the record. This is a bit like paying off your car loan to find that the bank still own your car at the end of it. Sadly, that's just how it isThe other major one-off cost is marketing the record. This means things like buying advertising space on TV, radio, poster sites and in magazines and will often run up to another couple of hundred grand. Plus there's the cost of actually making the TV and radio ads, and designing posters and magazine adverts.Then there are some smaller costs like designing the CD cover and producing promotional copies of the record to give to journalists, DJs and radio & TV producers. Often labels will also produce extra marketing gimmicks like t shirts and frisbees which will be dished out to media types to promote the record.And we haven't even touched on the whole use of singles to promote the album, and the costs of making and marketing them: more advertising space, remixes, videos and more frisbees.08 Why the Label Gets MostIt's true. The label is already charging the recording costs back to the artist and will also try and charge back as much of the marketing cost as they can too. So how come they get twice as much as the artist?Now we don't want to be seen as apologists for the major labels, but there are reasons for the label to take such a huge slice of the wedge.Mainly it's because most artists don't even get to the stage of releasing their first album. Depending on who you believe, only about 1 in 10 or even 1 in 20 artists who get signed actually go on to have a successful career.Some of the others release a single or two that flops and are quietly dropped. Others even get to make a whole album that never gets released because it's not great and the cost of marketing a turkey would be good money after bad. So the label will dump the record and sign another act rather than release an album they're not sure about.And all of these artists will have been paid advances when they were signed and some will have racked up recording and other costs. The label needs the money from the few artists that did succeed to pay off their losses from the ones that didn't. So some of your £15 is going to pay off the A&R department's mistakes.09 Small Label DealsThe stuff we've looked at so far applies to major and large independent record deals.For a small label deal, it's typical to do away with all the complexities. Often they'll simply split the profits from the sales of the record 50/50 between the artist & label, once the label has deducted manufacturing and other costs.Costs may be proportionally higher than for a major deal. For example, it costs more per unit to make a few hundred or a couple of thousand CDs rather than the tens or hundreds of thousands that a major would press.So it might be £2 or more per CD than the quid we assumed earlier.

cheers for that MR X. Great article and very informative.So what about royalties. Have just been filling out CCLI (1 month late) for our church.Should we be worried about people stealing our songs and making money out of them. If the songs are from God afterall then it dosen't matter, does it? Maybe someone might take your song and make it better. Should we be worried if someone else tweaks our songs and puts his name to it?Do Christian artists get much money from royalties?

Hey Gareth, Not sure how the whole CCLI thing works, but in response to Should we be worried about people stealing our songs and making money out of them, I think probably not.Someone once said "there's no copyright in the kingdom" and "Every good and perfect thing comes from above" and that in a way is how christians should view the song writing process, God gives us glimpses of heaven for us then to sing/speak of what we've seen, he is abudantly gracious and generous in the revelation side of this and the only correct response to this is the same grace and generosity in the expression.I also think though that there is a common courtesy not just to rip peoples songs off and claim them as our own, and maybe copyright has it functions to enable the type of stuff that Rob mentioned, namely: "Would we have some of these great songs if the people writing them were not able to devote their full attention to it?" eg. without making royaltys?

just a couple of comments on this:1) Would we have some of these great songs if the people writing them were not able to devote their full attention to it?2) One of the great side effects of how music is circulated is that many of our churches sing the same songs. - almost like never before, people are able to feel at home in different congregations through the familiar songs used by different denominations and groups.My guess is. If the songs are blessing you, your congregation and are useful for worship. Use them.Though I am an emerging song writer, I am not foolish enough to believe I can sustain my family on my songwriting ability. So like many others, I have a day job. My guess is, like paid pastors, going full time in the music industry is somewhat similiar. They answer the call.

Found a great resource. If you like facebook then you'll love this. Basically a facebook for UK worship leaders. Join