THE NEXT DESTINATION FOR FINDING, LISTENING, DOWNLOADING & AND SUBMITTING WORSHIP SONGS
Bruce Adolph: Holland, you have had quite a history of being involved in worship music and now you are rolling out a “destination” website that offers several opportunities for those involved in modern worship music. Please give us an overview of what your vision is for www.worshipsong.com?
Holland Davis: On the surface the vision of worshipsong.com is very simple. Provide a way for worship leaders and worshippers to hear a complete song and download a FREE chart so they can teach the song to their church, bible study, or simply play it during their personal times of worship. It was born out of a conversation I had with Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa who said, “my sermons are free, why can’t worship songs be free.” So, I prayed and the idea for worshipsong.com was born.
Now, the unexpected surprise came when I received a call from an A&R guy in the industry who asked me about a song I wrote called “I Will Stand”. I asked why. He said it went from the 800’s to the 300’s on CCLI over one reporting period and he wanted to hear the song. What was the difference? Worshipsong. com. The only place the song was promoted was on the site. I learned from this experience that one of the benefits of worshipsong.com is greater exposure to worship leaders, which means greater visibility on CCLI.
Another surprise was the number of worship leaders and worshippers wanting to purchase the songs to distribute to their worship teams. I felt that a FREE chord chart allows me to fulfill Pastor Chuck Smith’s vision to make worship FREE, but I felt that a FREE recording would be asking too much. It takes a lot of money to record a song and I only felt it was fair to charge for the mp3’s. This led us to offer the ability for songwriters to sell their songs via worshipsong.com. This can happen one of two ways. They can sell their songs through our online store, or they can sell their songs by linking back to their website or iTunes. We also secured distribution into iTunes and 500 Christian bookstores via on-demand kiosks with selected songs from worshipsong. com. Our desire was really focused on ministry,
but we saw a legitimate need and wanted to meet that need in a way that honors the hard work and costs that songwriters put into making their songs available to others. Songwriters can sell rhythm charts, sheet music, videos, mp3’s and lead sheets.
Currently we have received permission from Vineyard UK, Bethel Music, Christ For The Nations, Sound Truth Publishing, and Calvary Chapel Music to include their music on our worshipsong.com website. We also have permission to include some amazing writers such as Sarah Kelly, Chris Lizotte, Jamie Harvill, Brandon Bee, and Hanz Ives of Harvest Christian Fellowship. Since the launch of our site, approximately 1000 songs are heard every day.
Our future is wide open. We have all kinds of ideas, such as making worshipsong.com a site that worship leaders could use for planning their set lists. We’re also working on a platform for songwriters to collaborate over the internet.
BA: Wow – that is quite a vision. Now, we are announcing here quite a few ways that we will be working along side of you in this endeavor. First of all, Worship Musician and Christian Musician magazines will be posting some of our content there at your site. I will also be blogging from time to time and we will partner together to reach out to the worship community’s artists and songwriters. In the store part, we will be offering magazine subscriptions, the Christian Musician Summit conferences training DVD’s, as well as our “Streaming” products that were captured at the conferences themselves.
Two other ways we will be contributing to the site is by stocking some unique instruments/gear products (even some vintage guitars and amps we consign :) and by our Christian Musician Summit conference sponsor/exhibitor sales staff selling the banner ads on Worshipsong.com to
companies that have products that line up with the needs of modern worship leaders and their teams.
It looks like we are going to be working together on several fronts here to help both entities grow and succeed.
One last question... you mentioned two different ways songwriters can work with you... by selling their music through the site and another, by “kiosks” in 500 Christian bookstores. Now I know the next question that songwriters will ask you... what is the cost involved and how much do the songwriters retain?
HD: We have several different programs that writers can be involved with. A writer can upload their song or album with chord charts for free on worshipsong.com. If they desire to take advantage of the worshipsong.com store, they can sell a single song for a one time set up fee of $1.00, an EP for a set up fee of $5.00 and an album for a set up fee of $10.00. If they want to take advantage of digital distribution into iTunes or on-demand kiosks in approximately 500 Christian bookstores that cover 65% of the market, we charge a set up fee of $50.00 per album. This is a one-time fee, and it also includes the worshipsong.com store as well as future avenues of digital distribution we secure.
What do the songwriters receive? For all sales through the store, the writers receive 65% of the sales price. Our general retail price is $1.29 per song and $12.99 per album. For digital sales through iTunes and other venues we pay 85% of all revenues received.
BA: Right on. The reason I like this whole concept is it gives worship leaders and songwriters a “destination” website for their music needs, and it provides a distribution channel for songwriters and their songs. Well done Holland!