Streaming and Your Church

July 23, 2020

A closer look at streaming on social media platforms vs. streaming on your church website 

As meeting restrictions remain in place for many churches across the US, online communities continue to grow and new ways of communicating have emerged. Churches are staying connected with their congregation, and increasing their outreach, by streaming content through their websites and social media platforms.

Streaming Options  

When it comes to streaming, churches have two options – stream via social media or stream directly from a player on your church website.  

Social media platforms offer many features that are beneficial and attractive appealing to churches. (But) there are some key advantages to streaming worship services and special events that include copyrighted music directly from your church website and then finding ways to leverage social media. Let’s take a closer look.  

Streaming on Social Media  

There are pros and cons of streaming your services on social media platforms. Streaming services on social media is easy to implement and your footage can be as simple or complex as your team’s capabilities. Users can watch anywhere and anytime they want, and you may reach people outside your congregation.  

However, you don’t own your page or content and have no control over other videos and ads that may distract your audience. Content may be tagged or taken down if believed to be unlicensed and you must adhere to the platform’s terms and conditions.  Also, important to note – the church users can’t report song usage to ensure songwriters and artists receive royalty revenue.   

Streaming on Your Church Website   

When you stream your services via your church website, with proper licensing, you maintain complete control of your messaging and music. Your events and services are streamed without outside advertising or the threat of takedown notices.

There are services available that make it simple to set up your website to stream and archive your services and events for future playback. Reporting your song usage ensures songwriter royalties are paid out by the Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) or publishers. If your church owns songs and affiliates with a PRO, you may receive royalty revenue when you log your song usage. 

All of this leads to the question, “How do we legally stream our church services and what is the best way to do so?”   

Church Streaming Licenses  

With technology and content delivery platforms constantly evolving, churches have questions and want to know what license(s) they need to legally post their worship services that include copyrighted content. There are two streaming licensing options for your church, both with their own unique set of benefits.   


CCS’s WORSHIPcast Streaming License is intended to allow churches to post their services and special events through their websites or through streaming services that are in the church’s name. This license covers more than 28 million secular and Christian songs across all genres from ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, including holiday and patriotic music.   


The CCLI Streaming License allows you to post live-recorded worship services on your church’s site or other streaming platforms. This license, combined with your CCLI Copyright License, allows your church to safely stream more than 450,000 Christian songs.   

Neither, CCS’s WORSHIPcast or CCLI’s Streaming License permits you to use sound recordings, stems, backtracks, performance tracks, or pre, and post music within your streamed service or posted content.   

You can read more in-depth about the two licenses here.   

Streaming Challenges  

Many churches purchase a streaming license in hopes they will avoid their content being flagged or blocked on social media. Even with proper licensing, the church is still obligated to abide by the Terms of Use established by each social media platform. We highly encourage you to review the Copyright Policies and Procedures for whatever platform your church uses. In many cases, it’s advisable to obtain legal counsel regarding how to use the service and avoid copyright infringement. 

About CCS:  CCS is a leading authority on church music copyrights and our primary focus is providing licensing and clear educational resources to churches, as well as representation, administration, and advocacy for copyright owners. Follow us on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and YouTube. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. 

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