If you’ve written a faith based song and want to make money from it, here’s how to sell Christian songs!
The income stream from Christian songs includes radio airplay on Christian stations, CD sales through Christian book stores; CD sales through secular stores such as Walmart; CD sales at live events, downloads direct from your own ministry website; and sales through Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites.
It can also include income from your song’s use in Christian movies, cable television and network television; use in product commercials, music book publication, royalties from churches using your song in plays or worship, foreign uses for all of the above… the list continues and it’s long. If your song garners radio airplay you’ll receive royalties from SESAC, BMI or ASCAP.
To get the stream flowing you must decide if you want a music publisher to handle your song and exploit the copyright or if you prefer to keep a higher percentage by self-publishing.
Next, you’ll need to have either a demonstration recording (a.k.a. “a demo”) made for pitching your songs to Christian music publishers, producers and record companies, a master recording made or have a limited release CD made containing your song(s) for your self-publishing efforts.
A master single or a limited release CD can also double as a demo but it’s more expensive. This step will cost money but if your song is good enough to sell, it’s a necessary investment you will recoup later.
Most songwriters write both lyrics and music. If you only have lyrics written so far you’ll need to have a melody and chords created for your lyric because music industry professionals don’t read lyrics, they listen to demos. Most demo services will write music for a fee under a “work for hire” agreement that lets you keep all rights.
Note that you can’t sell a song outright for cash to anyone, anywhere, that’s not legal due to laws passed years ago. Songwriters were being taken advantage of many years ago by song publishers who would pay starving songwriters a few dollars for a song then make millions, so Congress intervened. The cash flow comes from mechanical and airplay royalties. If you self-publish you’ll get cash from downloads, sales of your CDs, and other sources listed above.
These days you can assign your publishing rights but you can’t sell the entire copyright or your songwriting share of the rights.
That covers the basics of How To Sell Your Christian Songs. Whether you use the royalties and cash proceeds to support yourself, fuel your ministry or donate it to a good cause is something you need to consider and pray about.
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