Feel Free to Live Stream our Songs

When the COVID-19 crisis caused governments to mandate that churches not gather, Sovereign Grace Music wanted to make it easy for people to live stream our music online to encourage their members. While the current situation doesn’t allow for the saints gathering as we’re told to do in Scripture (Heb. 10:25), we’re grateful that Christ-exalting communication over the Internet can be a means of grace that makes us long to be able to meet together again (Ps. 122:1)!

Recently, Sovereign Grace Music posted on social media that we would allow churches to stream our songs, live or recorded, for their services, but many people didn’t see it. So I’m posting more details here.

Because many churches don’t typically live stream their services, we are giving churches permission to use any Sovereign Grace published song in a video stream, live or recorded, from now through the end of December. If the crisis continues, we’ll extend this deadline. This includes permission to sing our songs live, use an original audio or video recording, and/or display the song lyrics, without obtaining a streaming license. We only request that you include the copyright information either in your video, in the video notes, or on your website, including the phrase, “Used by permission,” after the phrase, “All rights reserved.”

For example, the copyright information for “O Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer” would look like this:

Music and words by Nathan Stiff © 2017 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP) Sovereign Grace Music, a division of Sovereign Grace Churches. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Administrated worldwide at www.CapitolCMGPublishing.com, excluding the UK & Europe which is adm. by Integrity Music. www.SovereignGraceMusic.org 

You can find the copyright information for any of our songs on our website. Just search for the song and you’ll find it underneath the lyrics on the song’s page. 

This gratis permission extends to those outside of the US, but we can’t say for sure that your video won’t be flagged because of different copyright laws in other countries. We hope these guidelines will help you navigate through this. If you happen to live in the UK, you’ll find this post from my good friend, Matt Dennis, helpful.

Streaming Original Recordings

It’s important to note that using an artist’s original audio or video recording of a song isn’t covered under the CCLI Church Copyright License, but we’re giving you permission to do this with our music.

If you plan to play recorded music before/after your service (from other sources), you need to purchase a CCS Worshipcast Streaming License. We learned that the hard way in my home church, Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, when our Sunday live stream was taken down the next day because YouTube blocked it due to possible copyright infringement. We were able to work it out but we decided not to play music before or after the service to avoid it from happening again.

If you use a copyrighted recording of a song during your live stream, it’s still possible the streaming platform you use will claim your video for monetization, resulting in disabling your video. This is especially true for YouTube and Facebook. If this happens, you may need to dispute the claim and let them know that you have our permission as the publisher to use our songs in any of the formats stated above. 

I’d suggest waiting to stream or post your video ‪until Sunday morning‬ to avoid the possibility of your video being disabled ‪before‬ your church has a chance to watch it!

A License Still Might be a Good Idea

Although you have our permission to use our songs without a license until the end of December, it’s still a good idea to obtain the CCLI Church Copyright License with the Streaming License add-on during this season to protect your church and cooperate with copyright laws, especially if you use music from other sources. In this season, CCLI is offering a 10% discount to new users, which equates to the first month free. 

I’m hoping to write a blog post this week on the difference between online streaming and an actual gathering, and why it’s important that we highlight those differences in this season. But in the meantime, we’re grateful that our music can serve churches throughout the world, gathered or scattered, whose heart is to “praise the name of God with a song.” (Psalm 69:30, ESV)

25 Responses to Feel Free to Live Stream our Songs

  1. Ryan March 24, 2020 at 1:56 PM #

    Bob, thanks so much for doing this and for helping to clarify the differences in licensing and potential frustrations when live-streaming worship. There’s been so much scrambling by our congregation and I know so many others are doing the same.

    I’m also very eager for you to highlight the important differences between streaming and an actual gathering of the body of Christ. I 100% agree that we are so blessed to be able to worship together via video, but I’m concerned that a great many congregations, which before this time hadn’t distracted themselves with a live online presence, will be tempted to consider livestream attendance as an acceptable means of attendance, discipleship, and outreach within the local church after churches resume meeting together. I’m a worship leader in a congregation that has several tech-savvy members, so there’s a constant tension between doing things that contribute to the worship of Jesus and doing things solely for reasons that are aesthetic and convenient. There’s already been several comments from elders that this is a service we should continue to offer after life returns to normal, but the examples of reasons given included not only ones that would be legitimate, such as someone who was sick or suffered from a disability, but also those that would in my opinion not be a valid reason to not attend worship, such as being tired, having a family day at home, or going on a hike in nature while still being able to watch the service. That being the case, I feel that pastors and elders need to prayerfully and carefully communicate that this situation is neither permanent nor ideal and should instead cause us to long to be reunited with the local body of Christ.

    Thanks again for your wisdom throughout this time.

    • Bob Kauflin March 24, 2020 at 2:18 PM #

      Ryan, thank you SO much for your comment. I will definitely post thoughts on the differences for the reasons you cite. Keep making much of Jesus and the gathered church!

      • Ryan March 24, 2020 at 4:46 PM #

        Thank you, Bob. Praying for you now.

  2. Richard Espin-Bradley March 26, 2020 at 7:20 AM #

    Thanks for the helpful information, and for SG’s permission to use your recorded material. Can you comment please on whether the requirements are the same for using prerecorded videos in a Zoom meeting?

    • Bob Kauflin March 29, 2020 at 3:39 PM #

      You have full permission to use our songs in a Zoom meeting!

  3. Christian April 6, 2020 at 1:46 PM #

    When you say “our songs,” do you mean any song we can find on the Sovereign Grace site, or only songs with “ Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP) Sovereign Grace Music” as the copyright holder?

    • Bob Kauflin April 7, 2020 at 3:16 PM #

      Thanks for asking! Only songs in which Sovereign Grace is one of the copyright holders.

  4. Andy Langton April 7, 2020 at 9:43 AM #

    Hi Bob. Where exactly do I find Soveregin Grace songs to live stream?
    Are they video songs with lyrics on screen too?


    • Bob Kauflin April 7, 2020 at 3:17 PM #

      Andy, Check out the Sovereign Grace Music YouTube channel.

    • Sarah June 10, 2020 at 9:34 PM #

      Hello! Is there an update on this permission? The article says through the end of May. Our church is still meeting online (video conferencing) to accommodate high risk members.

      • Bob Kauflin June 11, 2020 at 6:46 PM #

        Sarah, we’ve extended permissions through the end of June. Thanks for asking!

        • Chloe July 14, 2020 at 2:10 PM #

          Hello, is there an extension of this permission until July? Thank you.

  5. Todd Wilson April 15, 2020 at 8:07 PM #

    So if I wish to find various Sovereign Grace worship video songs to live stream. What steps do I need to do for my church to utilize them? I’m the church videographer? We lack our praise band right now. Where do I download song videos from?

    • Bob Kauflin April 16, 2020 at 11:07 AM #

      Todd, you can’t download them, but you can stream them from Youtube.

  6. Austin J Carlson April 17, 2020 at 9:59 AM #

    Thank you so much for doing this! It takes a lot of pressure of us “tech people” in smaller churches who don’t normally deal with this. It adds so much to have some music playing before and after our livestreams!

  7. Anders May 7, 2020 at 11:58 AM #

    Hi Bob, how about if we were to record our voices over one of SGM’s accompaniment tracks, and live stream it during our Sunday service? Would this use-case fall under the auspices of this permission? Thanks!

    • Bob Kauflin May 7, 2020 at 3:54 PM #

      Anders, that is totally fine with us during this season. And because you’re adding your own vocals, I don’t think it will be picked up as a licensed song. Thanks for serving your church faithfully!

  8. Rachel May 10, 2020 at 12:31 PM #

    Hi Bob,
    Very grateful you’re doing this! I am a worship leader in the UK. Does “use an original audio or video recording” mean I could pre-record SGM songs as part of a church worship session uploaded onto YouTube? This isn’t live-streaming, as the video would remain on YouTube indefinitely. I would of course include the appropriate credit as you mentioned.
    Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Bob Kauflin May 28, 2020 at 10:00 AM #

      Rachel, yes you are free to use our YouTube videos for your services. Thanks for asking!

  9. Rachel May 10, 2020 at 12:39 PM #

    Hello Bob,
    Thank you for doing this! I am a worship leader in the UK. Our church is pre-recording worship sessions and uploading them onto YouTube. Does “use an original audio or video recording” mean we could record SGM songs for these pre-recorded worship sessions?
    We would, of course, give the appropriate credit as you mentioned.
    Many thanks for your help.

    • Bob Kauflin May 10, 2020 at 6:52 PM #

      Rachel, yes, that would be fine. Thanks for asking!

  10. Jono Thorne May 26, 2020 at 11:08 AM #

    Thankyou Bob, this is great! I’ve really enjoyed watching so many churches begin to worship outside of their church walls in this season. Isn’t it amazing what God is doing in His church through worship and online broadcasting? I saw a statistic that 1 in 4 people in the UK had watched an online church broadcast during the lockdown.

    It’s always amazing how God can turn a tough situation into an opportunity for hearts to align back to Him and His name to shine bright!

  11. Shari June 15, 2020 at 1:08 AM #

    Thank you for allowing churches to live stream your music recordings during this pandemic. I am worship leader of a small church. I am very grateful to have music during our communion time.

  12. laycistercians July 29, 2020 at 10:42 AM #

    Hi, Thank you very much for allowing us to use your songs. This is very helpful for small churches like us.

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