Planning Christmas Programs and Events? These Resources Make it Easier

The holiday season is absolutely the most wonderful time for communities to gather and celebrate. Still, we know how much work goes on behind the scenes to host concerts and special events and put together productions of all sizes to inspire and entertain your congregation. Copyright clearances can be the last thing on your to-do list. But waiting too long can mean not acquiring song permissions before your presentation date. So, before those decorations go up and the worship band takes the stage, let’s talk about planning for copyright coverage.  

First things first – planning for copyright coverage. 

We recommend visiting the CCS Learning Center to discover more about the basics of copyright law and how it impacts your church and then prepare a list of all copyrighted materials and uses. For example, did you know that the Religious Service Exemption only covered music played or performed in the course of a worship service? Anything outside of a service (think Christmas caroling, youth programming, or tree trimming) may require licensing.  

Once you know what songs you are using (SongSelect by CCLI has an extensive list of all the Top Christmas songs!) and in what context you will be using, here are some tangible and tactical steps you can take to ensure copyright compliance: 

  1. A church blanket license saves both time and money by covering an extensive catalog for one fee. There are various blanket licenses based on your church’s needs. Christian Copyright Solutions has you covered for performance licensing, and CCLI covers reproduction rights. These licenses work together to provide the most comprehensive coverage for your church. Watch this video to learn more about the differences. 
  2. If you plan on recording your program (audio or video), obtain mechanical and synchronization licenses from song owners for all copyrighted music and sound recordings. 
  3. Do not distribute any recorded and duplicated material (CDs, DVDs, songbooks, etc.) until all copyrighted material is cleared. 
  4. Don’t assume Christmas songs are in the public domain; many are copyrighted or owned by secular companies and require permission. We have another blog post with free resources focusing on this topic! 
  5. Finally, you will need a streaming license if you plan to stream your Christmas services or programs that include copyrighted music. Again – CCS & CCLI offer two types of blanket streaming licenses; check out “Which Streaming License is Right for Your Church?” to decide which license will best serve your needs. 

You’ve got your blanket licenses; now what?  

This is where the fun really begins! Looking for inspiration for your Christmas programs, events, and services? SongSelect has all the Top Christmas Songs in one place. Here you can find lyrics, chords, lead sheets, and more to original songs, classic carols and hymns, and contemporary Christian hits.  

Have you found the music you want but are looking to create a bigger sound with a smaller band? Maybe there’s a song you want to play that has a violin part, but you don’t have a violin player. Maybe there are multiple synth layers to a song, but you only have one piano player. Whatever you’re missing, tracks can fill in the gaps. Loop Community provides quality and affordable tracks, hardware, software, and training. New to tracks? No problem – Loop makes complicated things simple so you can focus on planning and delivering awe-inspiring events or productions. 

Speaking of planning, WorshipTools offers three simple, powerful, and free worship apps designed to equip your worship team and enhance your congregation’s worship experience. From planning to presenting, they have you covered. 

As you review your production checklists, if you have questions regarding performance licensing or would like more information, e-mail one of our customer service representatives or give us a call at (855) 576-5837.

About Christian Copyright Solutions: CCS’s quest is to help churches and Christian ministries “do music right.” CCS is an expert on church music copyrights, and our primary focus is providing licensing and clear educational resources to churches. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel.