There is no doubt about the importance that music is currently given within Catholic ceremonies. In fact, in most cases, almost half of the Christian liturgy is dedicated to music and chants.
Therefore, it deserves to be considered as an indispensable component during the ecclesiastical celebration.
Religious music is the key element in creating a special connection between believers and God.
However, playing music in a church is not as easy as buying a CD of Christian music and playing it, or searching Spotify or YouTube for Catholic songs and clicking ‘Play’.
Copyright in Church Music
As in other places such as restaurants, gyms or museums, churches must also respect copyright.
Copyright is a protection granted by law to creators of original works of authorship expressed in a tangible form, including:
- Literary, musical, theatrical and choreographic works.
- Works of art, photography, and sculpture.
- Audio and audiovisual works (such as films, videos, compact discs, and DVDs).
- Computer programs or games.
- Internet and other databases.
Usually, only the copyright owners can authorize the copying, distribution, or use of your work. In the particular case, we are dealing with here, using musical pieces without the permission of the copyright owner is against the law.
Church members must rigorously respect the copyright of the music they use. Otherwise, it may fall on those responsible for economic penalties and even legal liability.
To prevent you from going through this, I have decided to create you a list of the best Christian music services without copyright. In this way, you can be sure and confident that you are choosing quality music without the risk of getting in trouble.
All the platforms I will show you below offer top-quality service. However, there is a possibility that they will not deliver their services in your country of residence. I want to avoid that problem for you, so I will begin by presenting you with the best platform of all.
Epidemic Sound. Your best choice
Epidemic Sound is the leading company in the music licensing sector.
Since its foundation in 2009, the Swedish company has focused its efforts on providing premium music content from independent artists.
Through its music library of over 30,000 songs and 60,000 sound effects – which is updated weekly – you can find the music that best fits the Christian theme you are looking for.
All tracks are sorted simply and intuitively and you can filter them by genre, musical movement or mood.
In addition, Epidemic Sound has two fantastic features that will make things much easier for you:
The first is the ‘find similar’ feature, which allows you to discover new music tracks similar to the ones you liked.
The second is called ‘Stems’, which gives you the option to experiment with the songs by choosing between the full track, melody, drums, bass or instruments separately.
Apart from the above, his new subscription for SMEs -up to 50 employees- called ‘Business Subscription‘ has the following benefits:
- Unlimited downloads during the subscription period
- New songs and sound effects added every week
- No need to present any kind of reports
- There will be no copyright or royalty claims issues.
- Possibility of cancellation at any time.
The price of this subscription is $15 per month, regardless of the number of attendees to the church. However, you do not need to pay the subscription from the beginning.
They currently have a trial period available through which you will have the full Epidemic Sound service at your disposal for 30 days totally free.
Take advantage of this opportunity and see for yourself all the benefits mentioned above:
Religious Music: Alternatives to Epidemic Sound
Soundtrack Your Brand
Soundtrack Your Brand is a company based in Sweden and created by two former Spotify employees: Ola Sars and Andreas Liffgarden.
After their time at the Swedish giant, they decided to build in 2013 what is today the largest streaming music service for businesses.
They currently have a large number of music stations, which exceed 300, and which include thousands of music tracks per station.
In fact, approximately 10,000 songs a day are added and distributed among all the music stations.
In addition to this, Soundtrack Your Brand differs from its competitors in that it uses an innovative system that combines Artificial Intelligence and music selection by experts, which makes it a service that is difficult to match.
To this we must add other features that your church will benefit from with this service:
- Full control of your parish music
- Music reproduction in as many church centers as you want
- Flexibility in programming different soundtracks for different days and times for
- Remote music management from your smartphone, tablet or laptop
- Possibility of playing the music without the Internet through the Offline mode.
- Available for iOS, Android and Windows
What’s the price of Soundtrack Your Brand’s service?
The price of Soundtrack Your Brand’s music service will vary depending on the country you are currently residing in, but will typically start at 26.99 € per month in major European countries, and $26.99 per month in the United States and Canada.
If you want to know the price of this service in your country you can check it here.
However, whatever the price, Soundtrack Your Brand has an offer for you that you can’t refuse.
If you are a new customer of their platform and want to try it out at zero cost, they now offer a 30-day free trial period.
In this way, you can enjoy all its advantages without obligation so that you can see if it is really the service you are looking for.
Christian Copyright Solution
CCS is one of the leading companies in the church music market.
Since 2001 it has been providing online music licensing solutions to a multitude of churches and ministries such as Saddleback Church, Northpoint Church, Gateway Church, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Highland Church, Bethel Church and Willow Creek Church.
Christian Copyright Solution is the only company that has a partnership with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, better known as PROs (Performance Rights Organizations). Because of this, they offer musical licenses that allow religious organizations to legally play, perform, and transmit a wide variety of Christian songs.
The CCS offers three types of licenses:
- Perform Music, focused on the music played at the church event
- Worship cast, aimed at church websites
- Bundle, a mixture of the previous two
If what we are looking for is a musical service for our church, the license that best suits us is Perform Music, which will allow us to play or interpret more than 25 million songs of various genres such as Contemporary Christian or Gospel.
|Total weekly visits||Annual cost|
Its price will depend on the number of weekly church attendees.
Attention: This service is only available for North America.
Christian Copyright Licensing International
CCLI provides its clients with the musical resources necessary to rehearse, present, and display the most inspiring audio while simplifying the costly administrative work involved in copyright licensing.
With this service, churches, organizations, and even Christian schools will have easy, real-time access to church music. CCLI opens the door to rich, quality content, ensuring you the greatest peace of mind about copyright.
All of their licenses will cover you from the following copyright-protected activities:
- Storage of song lyrics: Enter and store song lyrics on any device for a visual projection that helps with congregational singing.
- Printing songs: Print songs, hymns, and lyrics in newsletters, programs, liturgies and song sheets for singing.
- Recording Services: Record and capture worship services (audio and video), as long as you are only recording live music.
- Custom Arrangements: Organize, print and copy your own vocal and instrumental arrangements for liturgical singing when a published version is not available.
- Projection or visualization: Make digital or physical copies of copyrighted lyrics for projection or display during congregational singing.
Christian Copyright Licensing International has two licenses: ‘Copyright License’ and ‘Event License’, whose prices will vary depending on the number of church attendees.
|Average Weekly Attendance||Copyright License|
The price you see is in American dollars. However, CCLI licenses are available for many other African, oceanic, South American and European countries.
One License is a service that offers legal church music to churches, retreat centers, religious communities, funeral homes, and university ministries. In fact, they already have about 20,000 people using their congregational music licenses.
Their priorities are to make it easier for parishes to obtain quality songs and to support their authors, composers, and publishers to receive appropriate royalties for their work.
OL licenses are available in the annual, weekly, event, or even single-use formats. It also has licenses focused on streaming or podcasting. However, the license that best fits a Christian church is the annual one, whose prices vary depending on the weekly visits to the parish.
|Average Weekly Attendance||Annual price|
|10,001 o más||$1,695.00|
One License offers its services throughout Europe, as well as in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada.
What place should music occupy in Christian worship?
Historically, music in general and singing, in particular, have been a reflex for many Christians. From the beginning of the Catholic religion, there were already signs of concern and sensitivity to the musical aspect.
Today, music occupies a fundamental place in Christian celebrations. Proof of this is that there is practically no liturgy that can take place without singing or music.
In general, worship is an expression of gratitude to God for all that he has given us, gives us and will give us throughout our lives. Therefore, if we understand the essence of worship, we can give music the place it deserves within each celebration.
You have already seen throughout the article that music is, by far, an indispensable element to be used in Christian celebrations. Not only to brighten up the liturgy but to create an emotional and spiritual connection between the entire Catholic community.
However, it is not possible to use the typical church songs taken from a CD or directly from the Internet.
If you do, you already know that you risk harsh financial penalties and legal liability on the part of the copyright owners.
So I introduced you to up to four church music licensing services, including Christian Copyright Solution (CCS), Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI), One License (OL) and Epidemic Sound.
However, depending on where you live, you will not have access to any of these services. For this and other reasons, Epidemic Sound is the best of the four.
With this platform, you will not only have any localization problems, but you will also have a wide range of themes that will fit perfectly with the Christian theme you are looking for.