Thank you so much for being willing to share your music with us. We value your creativity and artistic expression more than we can possibly express and we want you to know that your compositions will be listened to with great respect, care, and prayerfulness. Please know that you retain all rights to the songs you submit for consideration and that no financial or legal agreements of any kind are initiated or altered when you upload a song for consideration. If our team of song evaluators recommends a composition of yours for inclusion on CMP’s site, we will contact you and provide you with all the relevant contracts and explanation of financial terms.
We want you to have the clearest possible understanding of the kinds of songs we are looking for and to know how your compositions will be evaluated. While we will eventually be searching for great songs of all kinds, we are initially searching for songs that specifically lend themselves to group singing in the context of congregational worship or “community song” of some kind.
Please know that there is no one musical or liturgical style that we will prefer to others. All styles and genres of music are welcome and wanted.
It is preferable if you have a high quality recording of your song. High quality does not mean fancy or elaborate production. It could just be piano/vocal or guitar/vocal. But the quality of the engineering, overall sound, and performance needs to be strong enough to give your song the best possible chance of being “heard.” If your song is accepted, we will want to sell downloads of it on our site and to promote distribution of the song. So of course it is preferable to have your song all ready to go in terms of performance and production.
There will be times however when someone submits a great song but the performance is such that it will need to be re-recorded before we can make it available. In these cases we will discuss with the submitter of the song how to proceed. The basic options are for a writer to have the song more professionally recorded and then to resubmit it, or for CMP to be compensated for re-recording the song. We strongly suggest however that you do not put large amounts of money into producing a song specifically for inclusion in CMP’s catalogue unless the song has already been approved. Many of you who will submit songs for consideration are artists who have great recordings of your songs already. We do not however want anyone to invest large sums on song demos in hopes that great production will somehow change the minds of our evaluators. Expensive production cannot make a mediocre song a great song, and our team of evaluators will “hear” a great song even if the production is minimal
Your song(s) will be evaluated by 3 independent jurors using the following 10 criteria. Each song will be evaluated on a 1-5 scale (5 being the best possible rating). We realize that some of these evaluations are highly subjective and that is why we are giving each song to 3 different evaluators. We will use these criteria as a basic guide and be open to the possibility that a song may “work” and be wanted even if it does not score highly in certain areas. For example, if a song gets low marks in certain areas but scores highly in “the magic” category, we may want to sign it anyway! So here is a basic description of our 10 criteria.
1.Singability: Is the vocal range singable for average people (roughly this means no more than an octave, between A below middle C and 2nd D above middle C)? Are the note intervals, amount of syncopation, and difficulty of rhythms more for groups or soloists? Is it written for a congregation or a band?
2. Musicality: Are the melody line, chord progression, etc. beautiful and compelling? Does the song stand out, musically, or is it average? Is it intuitive without being old hat? Does it resonate, drawing from us a deep response?
3. Poeticality: Are the lyrics graceful, beautiful, moving? Is the imagery evocative and artful? Are the words easy to sing? Does the content help us to worship God?
4. Stickiness: Can this song bear the weight of repetition, or will it get old? Are its musical and lyrical qualities so interesting and delightful that people can’t forget it or can’t stop singing it?
5. Freshness: Does the song use new imagery, or rely upon clichés? Does it sound fresh musically, or like something from an earlier era? Will the vibe, rhythm, lyric, melody, and general feel of this song resonate with contemporary listeners?
6.Convergence-ness: Ah, this is the tricky one. How well does this song fit with the Convergence movement? Is the language expansive/inclusive? Is it moving toward new ways of understanding Jesus? Does it reflect the values expressed in the Charter for a Just and Compassionate Christianity and Six Marks of Progressive Christian Worship Music? (1. Praise, justice and fullness of human experience, 2. Inclusive/Expansive language, 3. Progressive theology, 4. Individual and Community, 5. Emotional authenticity, 6. Fresh images, ideas, and language)
7. Formativity: Will this song strengthen the ways communities and individuals experience and relate to God, themselves, others, and the environment over time?
8. Usefulness: Does this song fulfill a special and needed purpose, such as praise or protest, celebration or lament, confession or assurance, outrage or rejoicing, jubilation or contemplation? Does it have special usefulness in a specific liturgical setting or season? Does it add to the range of topics and modes of expression?
9.(Di)Versatility: Will this song help to create a diverse catalog of songs that embody the breadth of the church’s global expression? Is this song versatile enough to relate to diverse audiences, different ethnic and/or racial communities, and can it be used or adapted in a variety of settings?
10. The Magic: Does this song transport us somewhere? Does it bring us into the presence of God? Does it touch us deeply? Does it have that extra “wow” that sets it apart?
Thanks once again for sharing your music with us, and we look forward to working with you and hopefully to helping your music be heard and distributed more widely than ever. ever.