Cover Your Church Legally With CCLI SongSelect

Thomas CostelloUncategorized 2 Comments

CCLI SongSelect is an online resource that provides churches with the ability to legally license the songs and media they use during worship services and other events.

You probably know that covering your legal bases is vital when it comes to using copyrighted music and live streaming services. Many churches have had their online services flagged (sometimes in error) by Facebook and YouTube for streaming copyrighted music without permission.

CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing, Inc.) SongSelect contains over 100,000 worship songs in its extensive library. The CCLI SongSelect site provides options for churches of all sizes for service planning, music, and media. In addition, CCLI provides streaming licenses.

This blog post covers CCLI SongSelect services, features, and pricing and answers some basic questions about covering your church when it comes to copyrights.

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

We have to start with a disclaimer: we are not lawyers, and this blog post is not a substitute for official legal counsel. The most important advice we can give you is to talk through how you use music and media with your legal team.

Do your due diligence to make sure you’re following proper regulations.

As the Provident Law website advises churches: “A copyright protects the expression of an original idea and provides the holder with the exclusive rights to copy, modify, distribute, display, and perform the work. Typical examples include protection for written works, music, dramatic works, films, artwork, architecture, software, and website design.”

This means that you can’t broadcast copyrighted music, the lyrics to songs, record the performance of copyrighted music, or rebroadcast music or videos created by others without a proper license.

Coverage for Churches

Singing songs in a church service is fine because that’s covered under the Religious Services Exemption (Section 110(3) of the U.S. Copyright Law). However, if you want to project or print song lyrics, photocopy sheet music for the band, record the service, or live stream legally, then you need additional coverage.

Otherwise, you could be fined or sued for copyright infringement. And no church wants to deal with the legal hassle, financial penalties, and fallout of getting caught using copyrighted music without a license!

CCLI is a popular option for churches and ensures you are covered to:

  • Enter and store song lyrics on computers for visual projection
  • Print songs and lyrics to distribute to your congregation
  • Record live worship services on audio to video
  • Make custom vocal or instrumental arrangements
  • Translate song lyrics into another language

With CCLI coverage, you still need to include copyright information on projected or printed song copy. This can be done once at the beginning or end of the song. Information should include song name, artist, year, publishing company, and your church’s license number.

What is CCLI SongSelect?

As the leading provider of worship media licenses, CCLI offers a comprehensive catalog of songs and media from over 650 publishers worldwide. CCLI’s mission is to make it easy for churches to obtain licenses to use copyrighted material in worship services and other events.

Their goal is to educate and equip the church with the resources it needs to operate within the law while still being able to use the latest and greatest worship music. In addition, CCLI is committed to its publishing partners. Their goal is also to ensure that artists and industry professionals are fairly compensated for the use of their work.

One feature of CCLI SongSelect is its list of copyright owners. This database allows you to search and double-check whether your content is covered by CCLI in the form of a Copyright license, Streaming license, or Rehearsal license.

Here are just a few of the publishers that are included:

  • Capitol Christian Music Group
  • Hillsong
  • Bethel Music
  • Maverick City Music
  • Vineyard Worship
  • Forefront Records
  • Getty Music
  • Motown Gospel
  • And many more!

How CCLI SongSelect Works

Churches can access CCLI’s online catalog of songs and media through their website or mobile app. Purchasing one of their packages provides you with an efficient and cost-effective solution for legal compliance.

With CCLI SongSelect, you can access over 200,000 song lyrics, create arrangements, store and project song lyrics, and record services. In addition, with a streaming license, you can post live recorded service music to your church podcast or the Web.

Here are some of the major features and benefits of CCLI.

CCLI is constantly adding new songs and media to its catalog. In addition, you can check out the “CCLI Top 100” list to see which songs are currently the most popular among churches. This is a great resource if you’re looking for new music for your worship services and want to stay current.

CCLI updates its “Top 100 list” twice annually. The list includes ballads, funk, soul, anthemic rock, and contemporary hymns and is based on reports drawn from a cross-section of churches of various sizes and denominations.

SongSelect Mobile App

The CCLI SongSelect mobile app makes it easy to find music on the go. You can access the catalog of songs and media and search for specific titles all from your mobile device. So, for times you’re away from your desk but working and planning, the Song Select app is a lifesaver!

Easy-to-Use Interface

CCLI’s website and mobile app have a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to find the music and media you need. Intuitive search helps you locate music by title, artist, or CCLI number. You can also narrow down your results using filters such as song type, theme, key, popularity rank, or topic.

Music Sheets and Lyrics

In addition to streaming licenses, CCLI also offers lyric, chord, lead, and vocal sheets–which is a massive help for your worship team! With this feature, you have easy access to download and print lyrics and listen to harmony and melody lines. The SongSelect Chord Sheets also have the Number System option, which means one chart for any key.

Auto Transpositions and Chord Numbering

Musicians will appreciate CCLI’s auto transposition and chord numbering features. These let you quickly transpose a song to the key that works best for your worship team. You can also add chord symbols to the lyrics so everyone can follow along.

3rd Party Integrations

CCLI integrates with a number of popular worship planning software programs, making it easy to add CCLI-licensed songs to your service plans. This includes:

  • Planning Center Services: You can access the full SongSelect library with lyrics and chord carts directly from Planning Center.
  • Presenter: This app lets you create presentations including videos, images, lyrics, and more.
  • OnSong: Access your library of songs from the app and organize them with just a few taps.

CCLI SongSelect and Streaming Pricing Packages

You have three options when it comes to pricing packages with CCLI SongSelect. In addition, you can add on a streaming license that covers you for live streaming your service.

Public Domain Plan


Before you dive into a paid package, be sure to sign up for a free account to check out the basic features. You will gain access to CCLI’s public domain media including non-copyrighted songs, which is a great resource for churches on a tight budget.

Advanced Plan


With the Advanced Plan, you have access to the CCLI SongSelect library of over 100,000 copyrighted songs, audio previews, 3rd-party integration, lyric sheets, auto transposition, chord sheets, and lead sheets.

Premium Plan


The Premium plan encompasses everything included in the Advance plan. Plus, you get access to vocal sheets and ChordPro downloads. In addition, ChordPro gives you an added export option for chord sheets.

Streaming License

Starts at $75/year, based on attendance.

This streaming plan allows you to stream your worship service, multi-platform streaming, and display lyrics on screen.

Streaming Plus License

Starts at $151/year, based on attendance.

The Streaming Plus plan contains everything above, plus you can stream master recordings, stream multitracks, and covers pre and post-service.

SongSelect Liturgy Planning

If you’re part of a liturgical church, CCLI’s Liturgy Planning feature is a helpful aid for planning masses. This tool will help you adjust formatting, note size, auto-transpose songs to any key, and send copies to your musicians.

Liturgy Planning features:

  • Weekly responsorial psalms approved by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
  • Settings for traditional and contemporary masses.
  • Liturgy and mass search results from an extensive library of offerings.

ChurchVue Video License and ScreenVue Vault

We also wanted to mention another license provided by CCLI for video content. If you’re searching for a resource library of high-quality film and video content, Church Video License may be just what you need. The license covers video content you can use for sermon illustrations, events, enhancing curriculum, or additional programming.

The ScreenVue Vault is a resource for movie scene ideas. This online library contains scene suggestions from Hollywood, Christian, and independent movie studios.

Remember that copyright laws ultimately serve a protective purpose. One of the main purposes of copyright law is to ensure that creators are compensated for their work. This encourages people to create new art, music, writing, and other creative projects, as they will be able to earn a living from their work.

Copyright law also provides some protections for consumers, so that they can be confident that the products they purchase are genuine and of high quality.

Unfortunately, copyright laws can be difficult to navigate because they are so extensive. CCLI explains some of the foundational definitions that are helpful to be familiar with. Here are a few worth highlighting:

  • Fair Dealing: A legal principle that allows the use of copyrighted material without permission in certain circumstances, typically for non-commercial research or private study, criticism or review, or report of current events. However, you still have to cite your sources. Churches are usually NOT covered under Fair Dealing.
  • Public Domain: Works that belong to the public and can be used freely by anyone, usually after intellectual property rights to the works have expired. The terms for expiration vary by country.
  • File Sharing: The practice of distributing or providing access to digital media via email, websites, or digital storage devices. File sharing applies to computer programs, multimedia (audio, video), documents, e-books, and other forms of digital media. Sharing files is prohibited without a license or direct permission from the owner.
  • Format Shifting: The act of transferring digital content (music, video, etc.) from one format or device to another, for example, copying music from a CD to a computer.

How Do I Legally Stream Church Services Online?

Your basic options for broadcasting your online service are to stream from your website or use a third-party platform like social media.

Remember, you must have the necessary copyright and streaming licenses, whether streaming from your website or social media accounts.

Streaming directly from your website, with proper licensing, has many advantages. You have more control over the branding of your service, no third-party ads, you can include other features like giving and email capture, and you’re not relying on a third-party platform that could change its rules, glitch, or block your content.

The other popular platforms for broadcasting services are Facebook and YouTube. These platforms are easy to use and don’t require any additional software. If you’re already using social media for other marketing efforts, they can be a great way to reach a wider audience with your services.

The downside of using social media to stream your services is that you’re at the mercy of these companies. You cannot control what ads may pop up. Also, Facebook and YouTube could make changes that impact your ability to stream, or they could block or remove your content if they feel you violate their terms of service.

Even when you have all the proper licensing in place, they may still flag your content. If this happens, reach out to their team directly to ensure they understand your licensing and the issue gets resolved.

In Conclusion

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to streaming your church services online, but CCLI can help make the process easier. They offer many resources on their website, including articles and videos to help you navigate the legalities of streaming.

You need to be sure you have the proper copyright and streaming licenses in place before you begin streaming your services. With CCLI SongSelect and streaming licenses, you can worship and broadcast your worship services with confidence.

About The Author

Comments 2

  1. THIS IS A QUESTION, NOT A COMMENT. I am the solo musician and vocalist for a small Congregation that lost its building by fire 7 years ago. It met for a while in a small Catholic chapel during Covid, but now It’s weekly services are almost entirely by ZOOM. The attendance is quite small, averaging between 12 and 20 people each service. I was a Worship leader at other churches for more than 40 years so I have a large book of songs most of which are not contemporary, but I know many of them are not PD either. I would like to be able to use all my songs. this church has been trying to get money together to rebuild the very lovely
    19th century church. not to mention the small congregations ability to do much beyond giving the pulpit fill pastor a small salary. I don’t take any but the church is right around the corner from home. bottom line: how much
    church have to pay for my songs? thank you very much for your help.

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