Part of my “real job” includes directing music at a mid-sized church in North Carolina. Last week I received a typical email from Daywind Music asking me to buy their latest soundtracks, but the first item on the list mentioned a change in Daywind’s streaming license. Clicking that link led to this page on Daywind’s website:
Investigating further, the only thing I could find on Daywind’s website regarding their streaming license was a $50 fee PER SOUNDTRACK which seemed rather excessive, so I called their 800 number to get more clarity. There I was informed that Daywind also offers a license for $400 that would cover all their tracks for one year.
Most churches (the ones making an effort to do streaming legally, at least) buy a license from a company called Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI). CCLI’s streaming license fees vary based on each church’s average attendance. If your congregation averages 133 weekly, for example, their Streaming Plus license is $222 PER YEAR. They also offer a basic streaming license which allows songs to be streamed with live music, but does not cover the use of pre-recorded soundtracks from companies like Daywind.
CCLI’s license currently covers TWENTY-FOUR companies as you can see in the image below from CCLI’s website. But as you can see in the image above, Daywind tracks are no longer covered by CCLI. (CCLI still has Daywind listed at the moment, but they’ll obviously have to remove that at some point as it’s no longer valid.)
If you’re totally lost at this point, here is some background:
Copyright law allows songs to be sung by a congregation in the course of a routine worship service with no performance royalties due. Any use of songs protected by copyright beyond congregational singing typically require a license. If you want to display lyrics on a screen, for example, or make copies of sheet music, or sing with a pre-recorded track, or stream music (with or without a soundtrack accompaniment) to the internet, record a CD of your choir, etc., you need a license.
Songs first published more than 95 years ago are typically in the public domain with no royalties required, BUT a soundtrack created by Daywind for a public domain song like “Amazing Grace” would still require a license…not for the song itself that was written in the 18th century, but for use of the unique soundtrack Daywind created that is still protected by copyright.
The “streaming license” we’re focusing on here allows you to broadcast worship services on sites like YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and other platforms including your own church website.
Starpraise Ministries was incorporated in 1988 and soon renamed CCLI. Through CCLI, churches may purchase various “blanket” licenses that cover a multitude of music publishers. For the past 20 years or so, virtually every major Christian publisher has partnered with CCLI. More than 250,000 churches now purchase CCLI licenses annually.
Every two years or so, each church reports their usage of music to CCLI for a period of six months. CCLI uses data from these reports to calculate how to divvy up the money for the publishers and in turn the creators of the songs/soundtracks, etc. those publishers represent.
I have been told (unofficially) that CCLI is facing mounting pressure from publishers/creators who are worried that CCLI does not require churches to report usage often enough to ensure fair distributions. Whether this is specifically what caused Daywind to part ways with CCLI has not been made clear. It’s also possible Daywind feels CCLI doesn’t charge enough for their licenses.
Whatever the reason(s) may be, the facts now are that a CCLI Streaming Plus license will no longer cover the use of Daywind soundtracks AND Daywind wants a LOT more money for their streaming license than CCLI ever required. (Of course, they try to spin it as though they’re doing you a big favor, stating, “This will allow us to service each one of you personally and make sure all your needs are covered.”)
I’ll end with a few observations/questions:
- I’m entirely in favor of creators being paid a fair share of royalties. I’ve gone on record with that point numerous times here in the past.
- The beauty of CCLI’s fees is they are computed based on the size of the church, so virtually ANY size church that manages their budgets well can afford to stream music legally. Daywind, however, appears to believe the same $400 rate should fit all. Have they considered that for every one large church in existence with more than 1000 regular weekly attendees across the country, there are HUNDREDS of churches with less than 100? And yes, many of those small churches want to stream their services online.
- Even if you aren’t a whiz at math, you can see that if all 24 publishers currently covered by CCLI’s streaming license decide to follow Daywind’s lead, the cost of streaming soundtracks legally will rise exponentially. That $222 CCLI Streaming Plus license for a mid-sized church of 133 people would increase to $9600.00 ANNUALLY if all 24 publishers simultaneously demand Daywind’s new $400 annual rate!
- I will concede that perhaps CCLI isn’t charging enough, but it’s also abundantly clear that Daywind is demanding WAY too much.
- If two or three more major publishers follow Daywind’s example, virtually every small-to-mid-size church will have no choice but to stop streaming all pre-recorded tracks entirely.
- Daywind can certainly charge whatever they want, but I can’t see how this can be viewed as a wise business decision. It’s us “little guys” who currently buy Daywind’s tracks and need a license to stream them. Mega churches typically have enough live musicians for a band. Many still have an orchestra. Daywind has priced their license way too high for small churches to afford, and the big churches that could afford it often don’t require it.
The rep who took my call at Daywind verified the $50 per track fee was accurate and quoted the optional $400 annual fee to cover multiple tracks. She asked me to contact Daywind’s leadership for further questions. I delayed publishing this article a few days hoping for a response, but my questions regarding these changes sent to Daywind leadership almost two weeks ago using the contact info she provided were not acknowledged.
I contacted CCLI today to verify from their end if Daywind had separated from CCLI. Their rep said they are aware of Daywind’s decision and are simply awaiting an official notice from Daywind before they remove Daywind’s name from the list of companies that are covered by CCLI’s Streaming Plus license.
As with any article I publish about the music business, leadership from the companies involved are always welcome to clarify anything they’d like in our comments section.
I am guessing that this also means songs published by Daywind (through Daywind Music Publishing or Christian Taylor Music) are no longer covered by CCLI for use (soundtrack or not)?
For example, if someone wanted to sing “Practice What You’re Preaching” by the Lefevre Quartet, they can play it with their own band and sing it all they want during a service, but would they need to get a license directly from Daywind to display lyrics or stream the performance of the song since it’s a Daywind-published title?
When I was leading worship, part of my job was to ensure that whatever songs we were using were 100% cleared with CCLI. I had one church insist that if I couldn’t find the song in CCLI’s catalog, that I get permission directly from publisher to use the song in a service, since displaying lyrics was a requirement. Thankfully, I already knew the composer/publisher, so I just emailed them directly (they allowed it).
That being said, CCLI has grown to the point of being a monopoly for the church market and has been setting its own rates as it sees fit, with publishers either getting on board or going it alone. Daywind appears to be trying to go it alone. Had this been Brentwood/Benson or Capitol Christian (arguably among the top publishers in terms of the number of catalog songs used in church), it might’ve made a larger impact, but I’m not entirely sure Daywind has the overall volume of songs being reported to CCLI to warrant such a move.
Then again, I haven’t had a CCLI membership for a few years, so maybe they’ve been seeing a steady increase since I last looked.
Daywind stated CCLI will no longer cover the streaming licenses for their soundtracks. The first image in the article is a screenshot from their website addressing the use of Daywind branded soundtracks.
The CEO of Daywind has commented on this post inviting people to call him. Hopefully he will see your question and respond, or he may prefer a phone call as he has requested. He has indicated he didn’t see my email.
I’d like to know the answer to your question as well since that certainly is a concern to ensure we properly and fully vet every song before we stream it to ensure we have the appropriate license. Like I said, we may be getting to a point where we just opt not to stream any music of any kind for fear of breaking a law. When it gets to the point where it’s too complicated to research in a reasonable amount of time, that may be the best solution, as much as it pains me to restrict what we do for our church members who aren’t able to attend in person.
I have not received any correspondence from you regarding our track master licensing. I am happy to discuss our offerings with you or anyone else who has a question about them. Our phone number is 800-635-9581. I look forward to your call. Ed Leonard, Daywind
I can not say whether you saw an email from me, because I have no way of knowing whether you saw it.
However, you did receive an email from me on October 7, 2021 at 4:20 EDT at the email address I was provided by your rep that same day.
It may have ended up in your spam filter. It never bounced back to me as undelivered, and that was 11 days ago.
I wish discussions were had here in the open than over the phone, as many would benefit. Nonetheless, I have just edited out tracks I cannot use online (We don’t stream live). It does limit things, but that’s the way it is.
I typically try to get original tracks first (some of which are Daywind) and use knock offs as a last resort. (With a particular brand other than Daywind being a last choice, but sometimes all that’s available).
Other than many of my own arrangements, I used choral arrangements from Brentwood Benson, Praise Gathering, Lillenas, Prism, Lifeway etc. Sadly those all are now relegated to not being used, or occasionally used, and edited out. I likely will not buy future ones. Covid has forced us and many others who didn’t stream at all or in my case only put sermons up, to either live stream or edit out select things the streaming license doesn’t cover. Churches were often already hurting, and Covid has made things considerably worse with some who still haven’t returned, and some who have become spoiled in watching from home on their own schedules in their jammies or whatever.
I don’t begrudge companies for getting paid, or setting the value or perceived value of their property. There is a thing as supply and demand, but if other companies decide to raise their prices to similar prices, then we and I am sure many others will be forced to do only live music, or edit out ones using tracks not covered.
It does seem like Daywind is being greedy, or at best overestimating the value of streaming their tracks. Whether supply and demand drive prices down remains to be seen. Like already stated, churches have the right, and sometimes perhaps the only choice to abstain from using their tracks for streaming, and maybe at all. One lesson I learned in economics was there is potential forb more profit made in selling more copies at less profit each, than having much higher prices, making more per unit, but pricing yourself out of the market with most buyers.
As far as CCLI, I have only reported online, and have done so as requested the 18 years I have been music director. My predecessors had to do it by paper. I am willing to report all of the time if needed. It’s not so bad online, and done weekly (unlike my inheriting the entire reporting period undone yet by my predecessor, and having to go through old bulletins).
IF CCLI is no more (Though similar companies exist with far less offerings), then we will be forced to do what we can only do legally and deal with it.