As a worship music junkie of sorts, I spend a lot of time listening to worship music from my favorite churches and Christian artists. As a musician and worship leader, this is more than just a leisure activity, and for many worship leaders, it is a necessary exercise both to familiarize ourselves with specific music styles and to bring the breath of new music to our congregations.
Finding new worship music can be a daunting task as there are a lot of songs and artists, constantly covering each others songs, to comb through in the worship music field. And even if you are very familiar with a lot of artists and know what you like, stepping outside of what you know to find new music can be a challenge. I am writing this simply to suggest a system of sorts, one that I use, to find new music. This my attempt to break this system down into simplified steps to better research and find new worship music.
Step One: YouTube.com
This is the best resource to find worship music. If you just search for worship music, a list of popular worship songs will come up. You may or may not know them.
-Look at any song even if you know it. From the video page, you can listen to the song if you need to, look at the profile of the user who uploaded it (linked right underneath the video title), and look at the suggestions on the right sidebar.
-Check user profile for other worship songs they have uploaded or maybe added to their favorites.
-Check the sidebar for songs you do and don’t know. Repeat this whole process for each video page.
-As an example, when I search worship music, the first search result for me is “You Hold Me Now” uploaded by user tamim0007. This user has uploaded hundreds of worship music videos from around the world you will never find on the radio, enough to inspire any worship leader. I frequent his user channel to find new music. Also in the search results is the user gatewayworship, which is the YouTube channel for Gateway Church in Texas, a very musically prolific church who might be worth getting to know.
Step Two: Get to Know the Artists
From your time spent on YouTube, you will have gathered the names of some artists or churches. Try searching their names on YouTube. I mentioned that Gateway Church came up in our previous search results. If you were to now search “gateway worship” on YouTube, a list of Gateway Church songs will come up. Repeat step one for those songs and you will find more songs and artists like Kari Jobe, who sang for Gateway.
-Search artist names to find user channels and sidebar suggestions for more artists and music.
I will provide you with a starting list of musically prolific churches as a starting point for your search:
-Hillsong Church/Hillsong United/Hillsong London/Darlene Zschech http://hillsong.com/
-Jesus Culture/Bethel Church http://www.jesusculture.com/ http://www.ibethel.org/
-New Life Worship/Desperation Band http://desperationband.com/ http://newlifeworship.com/
-Gateway Worship/Kari Jobe http://gatewayworship.com
-Lakewood Church/Israel Houghton http://newbreedmusic.com/
-Elevation Worship http://www.elevation-worship.com/
Each of these churches have websites, albums, and YouTube videos available. Using the above search techniques you can find a vast amount of worship music they provide and hopefully lead you to other artists as well.
Step Three: Radio Channels
This is the most tedious and inefficient means of gathering new worship music.
There are two ways to review radio for new worship music. The most popular is probably listening to your local Christian music radio station and hope they play some quality new worship songs for you to listen for and use.
Another way is to use Spotify, Pandora, or Grooveshark websites to input worship songs that you already know, and they will build a playlist of songs and artists similar to the one you input. Depending on your current level of exposure to worship music, this may reveal a lot of new music for you or only a couple songs worth playing.
That is pretty much all there is to it. I suggest combing through this process at your convenience, as it can take a long time and require a lot of listening. Getting all the albums for just the churches I listed would take a lot of time to play through and really get to know. This is just my way of casually flipping through songs and artists I know to find new music and new artists that will open up a new tangent of worship music listening and hopefully playing for the congregation at LifePoint Church.
If you have your own ideas or methods for searching new worship music, please share, I would love to hear from you.!
EDIT: Going to big churches in your area or large church conferences like Passion will also provide a lot of listening material.