Software for Managing Songs

logo-largeA friend of mine, Jordan Liggitt, has developed a software program for managing songs. It’s part of the Gospel Software site which produces “online tools to ease church administration.” The specific software for music is in the songbook section of the site.  I asked Joseph Stigora, worship pastor at Covenant Fellowship in Philadelphia, to give me his thoughts on it, as he’s been using it for a while now. Here’s what he said.

For years I had been looking for a software that would allow me to input our own song sheets and transpose them instantly.   Those were my only criteria, really.  I was using a program that allowed for that but it had been discontinued and was full of bugs.  We worked around them and made it function but it was becoming quickly outdated and cumbersome.

Our church administrative staff puts together the song packets for Sunday mornings.  Now they have instant access to whatever I put into the system.  I can manage our entire songbook and set lists for coming weeks remotely online, any time.   The song sheets are clean and present well.  I can save multiple arrangements or chording options within a single song.  We can search songs by words, we can label songs for specific contexts (Christmas songs, children’s ministry songs…immediate access with one click…), we can attach lead sheets to songs, give different access levels to different people, transpose with one click, archive lesser used songs, fend off alien invaders, locate missing socks and discover new renewable energy sources.

As soon as I saw Jordan’s program, I knew this is what I had been looking for.  I begged him…pleaded with him to let me use the system.  After some coercing and promising to clean his white walls, he agreed.

The beauty of the system is that the whole band has access to the songbook at any time.  All of the worship leaders in the church also have access and can create their own song lists.  We used to have trouble keeping songbooks up to date for small groups.   Now everyone has access to songs as soon as they are put in the system.  If I want to introduce a new song and have them review it before rehearsal, we simply input the song and attach an MP3.  Band members can go in on their own time, review song sheets and listen to the songs.  I can send one email and the whole team gets the list, any notes I want them to read and PDFs of the whole song set.  It makes the whole process very smooth.

The price for the software ranges from $15-50/mo. depending on the size of your church. And as a bonus, it comes pre-loaded with charts for over 160 Sovereign Grace songs.  Check it out here.

18 Responses to Software for Managing Songs

  1. Evers March 10, 2009 at 5:27 PM #

    This looks like excellent software.

    The one “weakness” is that it’s entirely chord-chart based. Whereas my vocalists and pianist rely heavily on lead sheets for learning & playing/singing songs, and as the worship leader I prefer to be looking at the same thing as my pianist.

    So these days I rely heavily on a combination of:

    1) SongSelect online service from CCLI, for which my church pays an annual fee to access a database of thousands of songs for which they have lead sheets, chord charts, and a limited number of hymn sheets.

    The power of SongSelect is the ability to easily transpose *both* lead sheets and chord charts. The weakness, of course, is that it’s centrally run, and therefore adding/requesting new songs is at the mercy of CCLI song administration team.

    And of course, it does nothing for planning of songs sets or printing out songsheets for public consumption (something I do myself in Word to meet the requirements of our particular assembly).

    2) for SGM songs.

    • Bob Kauflin March 10, 2009 at 6:01 PM #

      Evers, I hope to do a post on SongSelect at some point. Also a great resource for the reasons you mention.

  2. Nick March 10, 2009 at 8:35 PM #

    Could this be a possible serving opportunity for people at larger churches? Although designing a web application like this undoubtedly takes a lot of work, programming a simple transposition application would be trivial. I could envision little projects like this as a means of involving the more technically minded in larger churches, and personally I’d be excited to see a “programmers wanted” sign at the link table.

  3. Jimmy March 10, 2009 at 9:43 PM #

    Bob (and Joseph),
    Thanks so much for posting about this. Re: attaching mp3’s, are there any copyright issues involved there? Does the software fee include some kind of protection or authorization for the user to post audio files?

  4. Jordan Liggitt March 10, 2009 at 10:53 PM #

    Hi Jimmy,
    That’s an excellent question. The software does not provide copyright licensing, so you can only upload audio files you have the rights to distribute. That could include a recording of one of your rehearsals or services, or recordings of original songs.

  5. JC March 11, 2009 at 9:03 AM #

    Also in regards to Evers’ comment:

    i would agree that teams that rely heavily on lead sheets will need another resource to generate the lead sheets (SGM, SongSelect, etc.). However, once you have an electronic version of the lead sheet (pdf, Word.doc, etc.), you can add it as an attachment to the song in this website thereby saving you time in the future when you use the song again: the lead sheet will be available to everyone who has access to the system. Obviously, this won’t help you with transpositions or changes to the arrangements, but for a newcomer, the combination of an mp3-clip and a lead sheet should be enough to learn a song sufficiently.

  6. John Huss March 11, 2009 at 11:41 AM #

    I have written a similar software application called Chord Chart Wizard. It is free. It’s a desktop application, not a web app. It allows you to transpose songs, create sets, generate powerpoint, generate lyrics sheets, and other documents. Please check it out – it has saved me many, many hours over the years; I can’t imagine working without it.

    • Bob Kauflin March 11, 2009 at 12:17 PM #

      John, thanks for stopping by. Looks like a great site. Is what you’ve done usable on a Mac?

  7. John Huss March 11, 2009 at 12:45 PM #

    Bob – Yep, it runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

  8. Chris Haines March 13, 2009 at 5:17 AM #

    I investigated producing something like this a few years back but when I looked into the copyrighting issues, found out it wasn’t feasible. Technically, making the songs available via a website is (or was) considered ‘publishing’ (at least according to the CCLI in the UK)… even if the website had a login protection.

    In order to go ahead legally, I would have had to get permission from every single song publisher that I wanted to place on the system.

    Any thoughts?

  9. Jordan Liggitt March 13, 2009 at 9:15 AM #

    Hi Chris, there are two issues here. The first is how the song is input into a church’s songbook. The second is who has access to it once it is in the songbook, and for what purpose.

    If you (the website owner) add songs for churches to use (even if they are password protected), that is considered ‘distribution’, and does require permission from publishers. That is why the Gospel Software site only pre-loads public domain songs (and now, with permission, songs from Sovereign Grace Music).

    However, churches are free to enter lyrics and chords on their own, just as they would type them into a word processor or slide projection program. Songs cannot be made publicly available, so password protection is required, and songs cannot be shared between churches, so each church must have a separate login which accesses separate songs.

    Once a song is entered, only a particular church may access it, and only for purposes of assisting with congregational singing. Printing or viewing songsheets is considered ‘duplication’, and is covered by a CCLI license within a single church for purposes of assisting with congregational singing.

    I hope that helps.

  10. josh otte March 14, 2009 at 12:30 PM #

    This may be just the software I’ve been looking for. Thanks for putting this out there for us! I’m going to download the trial, right now!

  11. Kevin Cooper March 17, 2009 at 1:51 PM #

    I have been using a software program by Corevalus systems called samepage. It does similar things to what you mention above, but also provides hardware in the form of flat screen computers that I have on our stage for each band member and/or vocal team member. I create a songlist and levels of security accessing (i.e. administrator, band member, etc.) During our services I am able to control the music through a foot medal, typing in messages on the fly, changing songs. Everything is based on a databased and can be manipulated as you like. For instance, I can have the guitar player see a chord chart and the keyboard player have the actual music. This system also is integrated with a personal monitor mix for each station and is linked to mediashout. Once I complete my playlist (also accessable from a planning page on the internet) then, my mediashout is ready to go as well. There is no need for hard copies of music as the band members can log in from any computer and see the list as I give them access. It has been a real blessing for me with two small children at home, I simply set up my laptop on the piano and do all my planning. When I arrive at church on Sunday morning, all my music, in the correct form for each band member, is ready along with my media shout for the congregation. You can even change keys on the fly, type in a message for those in the sound booth, or change the page with the click of a foot pedal. this helps me greatly since I lead from the piano. Never have to turn pages. Hope this helps.

  12. Kaylee Merwin April 14, 2009 at 12:18 PM #

    We use this at our church. It’s really amazing. The only thing is Justin Patrick and I have been entering songs for a while. It’s well worth it, though. I love being at the church and just hitting print for capo songs, and then getting them for myself on the the piano. It’s such a helpful software. :D

  13. Joel J. May 21, 2009 at 10:32 PM #

    Has anyone tried OpenSong?

    Being that it’s free, it might be another option to try. It seems like all of the options take a LOT of time to enter songs, though.

  14. Jordan Liggitt May 22, 2009 at 8:51 AM #

    Yes, OpenSong is another option, and yes, entering songs is the toughest part of using software like this.

    One thing our church did to ease the initial song population was split up our songs between 4 or 5 people. A list of 30-40 songs was much more manageable for a single person to add, and it had the extra benefit of helping our worship leaders be more familiar with the software.

    The Gospel Software SongBook can actually import OpenSong files, so if you’ve been using OpenSong and want a more modern song management tool, you don’t need to manually enter them again.

  15. Gregory Boswell September 6, 2013 at 9:07 AM #

    Sounds great! I think the Gospel Software is a excellent software to download different worship song and it is a good software to find the latest church songs that you are looking. I am so happy that someone made this software. Thanks!


  1. SongBook review on Worship Matters blog « Gospel Software - March 18, 2009

    […] Jordan Joseph Stigora, a worship pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Philadelphia, wrote a nice review of our online SongBook service. You can read the review on Bob Kauflin’s blog, “Worship […]

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