The organ at Pacific Hill Lutheran Church
The organ at Pacific Hill Lutheran Church was built by the Schantz Organ Company of Orville, Ohio, in 1969

Change, change, change! That seems to be the routine of this year! One of the big changes Pacific Hills has gone through is adding the option for online streaming of the services! This is a wonderful benefit for those home-bound and a great opportunity for outreach! What does this new option mean for music?

One of the biggest concerns with music is copyright. One small mistake can cost a fortune. So, what are some of the rules we need to consider? Well firstly, copyright only lasts 70 years. In the grand scheme, this is a short time period; however, that is a large chunk of most of our lives. To further complicate it, a copyright can be renewed on a piece music if a new arrangement or addition is made, but only for that arrangement/addition, the original will be out of copyright – but then you have to find one that is still available for purchase or print!

The good news is that almost everything in our hymnal is covered by our Copyright Licenses from Concordia and One License. The downside is that these copyright licenses do not always cover the special music or preludes and postludes. You can purchase the rights to these for a one time use, but that is a $10-$15 charge for each piece; thus, my recommendation and choice for Pacific Hills was to omit the prelude and postlude from the online streaming as this is the most financially responsible and consistent solution. To post the preludes and postludes alone could add up to $1,560.00 a year, and that is not including special music which could be an additional $780.00. We will attempt to obtain rights to post our special music online; however, this is not always possible, so there may be times when the stream is silent.

Other options are to find pieces out of copyright, composed or arranged by myself or other musicians willing to allow the streaming, or to find pieces covered under One License or Concordia. This is a reasonable solution for choir anthems as they are commonly covered under one or the other; however, instrumental music is not usually covered. For example, almost all my organ preludes and postludes in my library are not covered under either license, while they were composed many years ago, most are often re-edited or rearranged to be under a new copyright.

While this may not a perfect solution, it is a consistent and financially responsible solution. One small mistake with copyright could cost up to $150,000 per incident. We will continue to review our options with time to make the online experience the best it can be! 

I hope you all are enjoying your chosen method of worship and staying safe! Thanks,

Zach Hastings,
Director of Music