OCP/GIA Financial Model
  • jclangfo
    Posts: 185
    The claim was made in another thread that

    Parishes have changed their music consumption and purchasing habits.

    If they're anything like my program, all I buy is the One License subscription and new choral hymnals for new choir members. The parish used to purchase Breaking Bread every year, but I put a stop to that wastefulness within three months of taking over the job.


    I'm extremely interested in this. It seems to me that the price of One License is not nearly high enough to produce enough revenue for OCP and GIA if every parish in the country is buying One License and nothing else.

    The problem is that it seems like this is the direction that things are going. I make my own handouts for my congregation, so all I need is a One License and CCLI License.

    Interestingly, CCLI seems to make plenty of money from selling just the license and SongSelect access.

    As far as I can tell, the reason that this works for CCLI but not OCP/GIA is that OCP/GIA have broken financial models. OCP/GIA pay composers on staff to make music that they then try to sell. This worked great in the 1960s-1990s, when these companies were good at identifying composers whose work would sell if the company invested in it (St. Louis Jesuits, Haugen, Schuttee, He Who Must Not Be Named). However, it seems to me that GIA in particular and OCP to a slightly lesser degree have had hardly any major hits since the year 2000. Hence we've had about 20 years of composers getting paid to be on staff to make music that doesn't sell. At some point, this is going to collapse.

    It seems to me that the general OCP/GIA financial model is:
    1. Hire composers to make music that you own the copyrights for
    2. Create demand for the music that you own
    3. Use demand for the copyrighted music you own to sell hymnals

    On the other hand, it seems to me that CCLI's financial model is:
    1. Composers, on their own dime or on the dime of record labels backing them, create music
    2. Composers create demand for their music by building an audience or a church community that uses it
    3. CCLI licenses music after it has become popular and simply takes a cut of licensing fees

    I think that CCLI's financial model is vastly better. This is a more stable way to make money. This also supports something more akin to a market economy for music where music is produced based on what the market is actually looking for. The OCP/GIA model, on the other hand, is more like a command economy where the state has to guess the needs of the market without having enough market signals for them to be able to guess correctly. Most of the time, this doesn't work. Finally, CCLI's model gives more power to the individual artist. CCLI will license anyone whose music is in common use, while who OCP/GIA publishes is heavily gatekeeped by a small number of individuals.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 823
    I make my own handouts for my congregation, so all I need of a Once License and CCLI License.

    It depends oil what you're doing. I also make our worship aids. Our mass setting is the Mass in Honor of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, by Michæl Olbash, which was shared publicly via CCW, so there's no fee to use there, and then the rest of our program consists of either Bartlett simple English (CC license, so free to use), other chants found on Gregobase, or hymns in the public domain. I find that I don't need to report licenses to anyone at all and it's perfectly legal. Mind you, I do my own engravings which takes up some time. But I consequently never have any issues about getting the music or lyrics I want. I just find the relevant text, and then reference hymnary.org to find a PD version of the music, and I'm golden.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen MarkB
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,456
    I am presently creating a hymnal with exclusively PD hymns and chant (ICEL did this decades ago but never pushed it). Over the years it became evident that you only truly need about 150 hymns for the lit year. I use older style (authentic and unadulterated) text mostly found on hymntime. I also have adopted a protocol for congregational use which only scores the first verse of each hymn to the melody and then the remainder is text only in paragraph form. I plan to make it available to the public soon.
  • CatholicZ09
    Posts: 108
    As far as OCP is concerned, if long-time subscribers to Breaking Bread are canceling subscriptions and migrating to OneLicense, as did my home parish, who subscribed 25+ years, then it’s on them [OCP]. Year after year on the liturgy committee, we have all remarked how poor each section of Breaking Bread has become. Old favorites are replaced with something new. We’ve tried some new OCP additions in the past at my parish, and 9/10 we use it once, and it’s never to be seen and heard again. It’s pretty bad when the “Advent” section is flooded with the hits of the ‘70s and ‘80s Catholic school Masses. That’s why we decided to cut the subscription and move to OneLicense—OCP was removing too many good choices and forcing us to use Sarah Hart, Josh Blakesley, etc. I have no sympathy for their losing revenue when their offerings are abysmal.

    Now, as far as “no hits since 2000,” I think that hit OCP a few years back. Their biggest contributors (seemingly) right now are Sarah Hart, Steve Angrisano, Josh Blakesley, Jesse Manibusan, etc. They have numerous “appearances” on OCP-owned social media sites and seem to be propped up as the next generation of Haugen, Schutte, etc. It’s the “new (but not new) contemporary wave” at OCP. Sorry, but a lot of their music all sounds too similar.

    Edit: added some clarification where I was ambiguous
  • MarkB
    Posts: 620
    Yes, the two major Catholic publishers rely on a business model by which they have to generate new product (songs) to sell in order sustain their annual revenues because once people have purchased physical sheet music, they don't need to repurchase it to use it again in subsequent years.

    Financial considerations aside, if parish music directors fall for such a scheme, that model of constantly being novel has the pernicious effect on parishes of discouraging stability in liturgical music and discouraging the development of a tradition of liturgy and liturgical music year after year. If every Advent and Lent a parish is introducing new music, the community cannot develop a collective memory nor tradition in its liturgical prayer, and it cannot really learn the music well enough to sing it nor let it sink into people's hearts. Too much novelty contradicts liturgy, contradicts ritual.

    We should not be interested in pushing "new" music at Mass; we should be interested in cultivating sung liturgy. That will involve introducing new music selectively, but mostly it should involve singing the same good music year after year after the parish repertoire has been established.

    For musicians, that risks get boring but we are servants of God, servants of the Mass and servants of our communities. Repetition that fosters liturgical tradition and communal liturgical memory, prayer and singing -- mostly avoiding novelty -- are the core of what we should be doing.

    And jclangfo is right that OCP and GIA haven't had hits nor hitmakers in at least two decades. (Some exceptions are very few of the new Mass settings and Curtis Stephan's "Bread of Angels".) Both publishers' current crop of staff "artists" are mediocre and astoundingly prolific at churning out unimpressive music and music that is inappropriate for liturgical use.

    Part of what helped Bob Hurd, Marty Haugen, and David Haas succeed in the 80s was there was almost nothing novel besides the St. Louis Jesuits music for Catholics to sing at Mass. They provided new music to fill the relative void in "liturgical renewal" music. Now there isn't a void, so it's harder for anyone to get a foothold or find a niche in meeting the needs of parishes for liturgical music. And the "liturgical renewal" envisioned in the 70s and 80s has been reconsidered and has matured to reflect more of what Vatican II actually proposed and instructed instead of what some liturgical hijackers wanted to do.
  • KARU27
    Posts: 147
    It's the dilemma that classical music found itself in after 500 years, and the post-Vatican II liturgical pop managed to get stuck in it in about 50 years (new unknown music can't compete with the old favorites).
    We've gone from a patronage system to a free market.
    Thanked by 1bhcordova
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,215
    In the classical music world, the new composers largely can’t or won’t (!!!) write anything melodic or tuneful. Who are the most popular “classical” composers of the 20th Century? Puccini and Copland? I believe if a composer were willing to write in the same general style as Puccini these days, the public would eat it up.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW bhcordova
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,155
    It's the same in the organ world. Too many composers write/play for their colleagues, not for a general audience/congregation.
    Thanked by 1bhcordova
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 818
    I believe if a composer were willing to write in the same general style as Puccini these days, the public would eat it up.

    Puccini's style could only ever work in the opera world, to put it kindly. Interesting that you would lump Copland in with him, who wrote in a "popular" style only reluctantly and regretted that his less clichéd works were not viewed in the same light.

    More apt examples would be Britten, Rachmaninov, Vaughan Williams, Walton, Messiaen, and Langlais that managed to find individual modes of expression that didn't show contempt for their audience. Among others, Richard Taruskin has been a vocal and eloquent critic of this style of modern music.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,215
    As my training was initially as an opera/operetta tenor, the opera world is often where my thoughts go first. I don't consider them to be particularly similar composers, but probably the two "classical" composers of the 20th Century who have the most popular appeal.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 334
    I am very interested to see how Source and Summit picks up. Right now, it’s a missalette plus 90-ish percent of the hymns a traditionally-minded parish would want from OneLicense plus a customizable leaflet-making and cantor-supplying software program. If it is not rejected outright by a parish council or “liturgists” of a certain sort, it may be a dragon-killer, and the landscape could look very different in 2025. Who knows.
    Thanked by 2MarkB ServiamScores
  • MarkB
    Posts: 620
    I'm interested to see how Source and Summit performs in the marketplace too. I think it's very expensive annual subscription, and you have to want to use the Lumen Christi Gradual chants extensively to make it approach being worthwhile because the hymns are almost all public domain and available for free, but admittedly without the convenience of Source and Summit's tools for planning, publishing, sharing and transposing; yet I wonder whether those tools justify the annual cost. For me, the constrained scope of the music catalogue makes it unappealing and not worth it.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen mattebery
  • drjones
    Posts: 11
    Interesting! My personal take has been that OCP, GIA, etc. have or had a model where they don't really need new music as they could keep reselling the existing music. Having to buy a new keyboard accompaniment book every five years was an example; not much changed between cycles relative to the size of the books as far as I could tell. Disposable missals are likely another example.