A message from the Free Hymn Project coordinator

Greetings in the name of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ!

I'm exciting about the potential of the Free Hymn Project. My personal desire is that every Christian who has written a praise song would submit one song to this site. The result would be a huge collection of thousands upon thousands of songs of worship that the world-wide body of Christ could use in numerous venues.

I would invite every believer who has written a praise song to prayerfully consider whether to submit a song to this site. If the Lord leads you, then great! If not, then that is fine too. Although stated elsewhere on this site, it bears repeating: we have nothing against people making a profit/living from their God-given talents. The existance of the Free Hymn Project is not intended to indicate anything to the contrary. Consider this an invitation which you may accept or decline, as you desire. However, from time to time I have an email or phone conversation with someone who just doesn't get it. I've received unsolicitied emails from fellow believers who question our motives. It is very discouraging to receive these kinds of messages. It was as a consequence to these experiences that I decided to write this message.

First, let me reassure you that neither I, nor Seattle Area Ministries, receive any compensation for the Free Hymn Project. In fact, it costs us time and money to run it and we receive nothing material in return. For this reason, we cannot afford to pay people to compose music. All of the Free Hymn Project contents is provided to us, and to you, for free. On the other hand, if you wish to make a tax-deductable donation for us to purchase music outright, then we are open to that.

When I suggest that someone submit a song to the Free Hymn Project, I would hope that a negative response would go something like this: “Thanks, but I'm not interested.” Or, if they feel they need to explain why, something like this: “My family's/ministry's main source of income is from my music, and I cannot afford to let even one song go for free.” Those seem like reasonable responses to me. However, what I usually see is something like the following: “What?! Give away something for free? It wouldn't be fair if someone was to take my music and go out and make a bunch of money and not have to pay me for it. I mean, that's just not the way the music industry works!” Indeed. First, this is not part of the “music industry”, so why should it work like it was? Second, if you voluntarily enter into something, knowing full-well the possible consequences, then how could those consequences possibly be “unfair” to you? Third, people give away things all the time.

The crux of the problem seems to be that songs submitted to the Free Hymn Project do not have restrictions on the commercial use of the songs. Then why not remove that impediment? There are already sites that match that model, so the Free Hymn Project would be redundant. Personally, I would be thrilled if God decided to bless someone monetarily through one of my songs, even if I never saw one cent from it. Being able to bless someone else is the best recompense I could imagine. I don't ask anyone to give away something of measurable financial value. Most songwriters I know are capable of whipping off a song without much effort, especially if they don't need to do the instrumentation or recording. Not that I suggest that people submit musical garbage either. But somewhere between a platinum single and the banal, lies a range of adequate music. The submission of a single song of that calibre should not provide a financial hit to anyone. Might I even be so bold as to suggest that you consider specifically writing a piece for the Free Hymn Project? Melody line in midi format and words are quite sufficient, although we are not adverse to those who wish to give even more.

I recently received an email from a small music publisher who was offended by the very existance of this site. Apparently they were worried that such a dangerous idea could negatively affect their profits. I find such concerns to be unfounded. First, many artists will never concede to submit a song, while of those who do we only suggest a single song (which is a miniscule portion of most composers' output). Second, most modern Christian music is inappropriate for the Free Hymn Project for many reasons: challenging to sing, not group-oriented, not praise or worship oriented, etc. Let's face it, most music today is human-centric rather than God-centric. Therefore it is difficult to imagine the Free Hymn Project having a negative financial impact on anyone.