All of a sudden everyone is publishing videos online this month. The world has woken up to understand that we live in Netflix nation and that videos is what people consume. The only problem is there are rules to the game for videos, and what you do with music is an important part of it. I asked our friend Kerry at to help shed some light on all this fancy shamcy royalty business when it comes to music.

“This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim.”

If you’ve ever seen a message like this on YouTube or Facebook when trying to view a video that YOU created and uploaded, you know it’s not a good feeling.

You want your church’s videos to be easily shared with your friends, neighbors, community, and the world. But if you’ve created your video with music content that you don’t have the rights to use, you will likely run into this scenario. There are multiple problems that this can set in motion, but putting those aside for a second, it’s important for churches to set the tone by making sure that they are in compliance with all copyright laws.

Copyright issues, especially concerning music, can be extremely confusing, and researching it can be just as confusing, with seemingly contradictory information showing up all the time. Many times people think that if they have paid for music in any way, that they are free to use it as they wish. This is rarely the case; most often, they are paying to listen to the music for their personal use, and virtually ANY other use is not allowed.*

Rather than risk having your videos removed and treading in murky legal waters, a much better choice is “royalty-free” music. Royalty-free music is not generally “free” to obtain, but it is “free” of the royalty and license issues that one would normally have to work through in order to use copyrighted music. Essentially, a simple license is purchased that allows the purchaser to use the music for many different purposes.

With online royalty-free music libraries, there are a couple of different ways that these licenses are purchased. While there may be a couple of other variations, the 2 most common ways are by purchasing track licenses individually (per track), or by subscribing to a library that offers you access to their entire catalog of music for one set annual or monthly fee. You’ll realize rather quickly that the better option for your particular case will be obvious by how many music tracks you think you’ll use. Many times if you anticipate needing even just 5 or 6 music tracks, the subscription model will make more sense.

As you research music libraries, try to get a feel for which one contains music that will be most helpful to what you are trying to do. One library may have 100,000 tracks, but if 99% of them are ones you’d never use, then maybe it’s not the best option. Styles differ also…some libraries tend toward a corporate feel and some will tend towards more an “indie filmmaker” feel, for example. Does one of those, in general, better match the feel of your congregation? (…or the feel you’re TRYING to get your congregation to have!)

Be sure to read the specifics, but generally the music you license from a royalty-free library will cover most common uses: playing videos in services, pre-service announcements, on lobby screens, on social media, live-streaming, etc.
Happy creating!


Kerry James Cox
Founder, Missional Score

*No part of this article constitutes legal advice. Please contact a music/entertainment lawyer for specific advice.

The license that comes with a Missional Score membership will cover most of the uses that churches have (playing videos in services, pre-service announcements, on lobby screens, on social media, etc.).

With royalty-free music from Missional Score, you can avoid both the frustration of having your video removed as well as the potential restrictions on your account or even legal trouble. Missional Score’s website has been created to specifically meet the music needs of your church’s video production team, with collections for adults, students, and kids, and our music has been specifically created for the types of videos that churches create.

And at a yearly membership fee of only $99, we don’t think you will find a better deal anywhere! Preview any of our tracks fully and if you decide Missional Score would be a benefit to your church, sign up and start downloading tracks within minutes.