School of Music


Doctor of Worship Studies (DWS)


Robert Zeb Balentine


Church Sound Recording, Church Music Publishing, Music Industry Disruption, Worship Songwriting, Digital Distribution, Digital Media, Church Music Labels, Church Sound Recording Methods, Music Publishing


Liturgy and Worship | Music | Religion


The new digital media, particularly streaming music, has made the original record industry model antiquated. Now it is possible for independent artists to be their own label and publisher and through streaming platforms, have a national or global reach. This new model also applies to churches with some church leaders considering beginning a songwriting ministry and producing original worship music, Church record labels are not new; in fact, there is precedent for this extending back to the Jesus Movement of the late sixties. Although research and literature covering changes in the old music paradigm and new opportunities are plentiful, there is little written about the feasibility of non-megachurches becoming independent labels. The purpose of this study is to compile and aggregate research from various literary sources and present them in such a way that medium-sized churches can make an informed decision about starting a music label or employ strategies for success if they already do. The data collected will be from books, periodicals, dissertations, and articles written within the past five years and it will cover such things as the current state of the music industry, the nature of digital streaming as it applies to distribution and music publishing, the history of church music labels, the theology of songwriting, and the practical implementation of a songwriting and production ministry. The research approach will be qualitative because there is a need for more exploration of the question. The information presented is intended to benefit medium-sized churches considering a songwriting ministry.