How We Pick New Songs For PraiseCharts

Featuring Ryan Dahl Posted on April 12, 2008

I have to say, one of the things I enjoy most about PraiseCharts is going through the process of prioritizing new songs to put into the arranger cue.  We have a network of many different arrangers from all around the world who consider themselves to be a part of the PraiseCharts team.  But ultimately, my goal is to have PraiseCharts serve the needs of as many worship leaders as possible at any given time.  We don't have an agenda behind any of the songs.  We just want to find out what songs you want to sing, and then make the best quality charts available.  So, here is a little back stage pass to how that process works for us.

1. First, I listen to music - I love listening to new worship albums, and slowly allowing songs to grow on me as they play over and over in the car.  Some songs that I may not like that much at first, end up as my favorites.  Many days, we have music cycling through the iPod all day at our house, creating an atmosphere of worship.

2. Second, I recognize that my favorites don't always match up to everyone else - it is a little humbling to think that a song I thought would be the next "Shout To The Lord" just passed through without a lot of fanfare, but another song that I totally missed ended up as a giant.  Here's a confession: I actually never really caught on to "How Great Is Our God" the first time I heard it!

3. Third, we put out Song Request Surveys - This is where it gets fun!  I can throw almost 100 songs into a random list, send them out in a survey for others to select from, and within 5 hours, have enough responses to pick out five or seven songs that clearly have risen to the top in people's minds.  This is truly the people's vote.

4. Finally, we put out lots of lead sheets - On the business side of PraiseCharts, you must understand that there is a significant investment we have to put out to create an orchestration.  We need to know that enough people want that song to make it worth while orchestrating.  So, often we start with a lead sheet.  The trends are always consistent from lead sheets to orchestrations.  If people like a song that just has a lead sheet, then it is worth our while to produce the orchestration.  So,  that's why you see a lot of lead sheets in our catalog that don't have orchestrations.  Just on their own, they are serving hundreds of churches all around the world.  We keep our eyes on those charts that float into the Top 100, and then try to schedule those titles for our orchestrating arrangers.

So, all that to say, your feedback matters!  When you buy a lead sheet, you are putting a stamp of approval on that song.  When you take the two-minute Song Request Survey, your priorities and song interests make a difference in what songs find their way into the PraiseCharts catalog.

Unfortunately, we can't please everyone, as much as we try.  If you find a song that you really want arranged, and we don't have it in our list yet, check into the possibilities of having it custom arranged.  Depending on the current demand for the song, we don't have to necessarily charge you the full custom order rate.

I apologize if this whole process sounds too contrived and business-like.  The bottom line is, we are here to serve your interests, as you exist to serve the interests of your church and worshiping congregation.  We aren't flying music in from the clouds, putting all our marketing arrows behind a particular artist.  We just want to know what songs are connecting with you and your congregations.  What songs lead you into the presence of God.

So, I encourage you.  Make your voice heard, and be a part of the process with us!