Christian Music Then and Now

Online Christian MusicThe music industry has changed so much over the past few years. This of course affects every genre of music. I am currently writing songs for congregational worship in churches. There are many songwriters like myself, and my goal today is to discuss some issues that modern day Christian songwriters deal with as well as how today’s music scene differs from past generations.

Songs of worship have been around since the dawn of humanity. In Biblical times, David is probably the first songwriter that comes to mind. He wrote the majority of 150 Psalms. Some Psalms are prophetic; others are vertical praise and worship to God. But I wonder when everything changed?

Surely there were no royalties back in David’s time. Churches didn’t pay fees to CCLI or other copyright services. So things have changed drastically when it comes to copyrights and royalties.

I don’t necessarily think royalties are a bad thing for on-line Christian music songwriters. I take advantage of it, because I write songs myself and we all want to make a living doing what we do. Songs don’t write themselves. It takes weeks, months, maybe even years to write a quality song.

But I do feel we are approaching a dangerous area when it comes to congregational worship music. It’s a money making business…

There are mega churches like Hillsong, Bethel, and tons of others that generate incomes that dwarf even huge corporations through their worship albums. We’re talking millions and millions of dollars. Money in itself is not bad, it’s the “love of money.” So I’m not judging anyone for making money, we live in a capitalist society.

But something feels uncomfortable about this to me…

Something seems wrong about the system in place. These churches are just using the system to the best of their ability and I can’t fault them for that. But when was this system created? It didn’t exist back in biblical times.

Christian music is different than secular music… It has to be right? There is a transcendence involved that only occurs when we’re talking to and about God. I just hope that this road we’re on leads us to glorify God in all we do. We need to be careful..

Although I don’t have all the answers, I’m trying to add perspective from a songwriter that sees both sides of the Christian music industry. These are serious questions I think about. I would love to hear back from you guys on this topic.

If you’re interested in the digital music revolution and how it affects the Christian music industry, click HERE

Thanks for listening!

Drew Ley


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