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Musician taps the Internet to share her praise songs

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Don’t worry if you can’t think of the perfect song to go in your next worship service Sunday morning, just look on the Internet.
“More people should get on the World Wide Web and find what’s there,” said Becky Richardson, a second-year music student at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Mill Valley, Calif., who puts self-penned worship music on her personal Internet site. “Many musicians put their music on the Web for free because that’s what they feel they’re supposed to do.”
Richardson, currently music minister at Hillcrest Baptist Church, Richmond, Calif., said she has had more than 750 visits since she launched her site in July, some from as far away as Canada and India. Currently, she has six praise songs that she and a fellow church member have written on the site — some with audio or MIDI files — plus lead sheets, sheet music and lyrics. Though there is also a solo alternative song and a choral work solely for listening and viewing pleasure, worship leaders who hold Christian Copyright Licensing International licenses can download the praise songs and use them in their congregations, she said.
“People who have CCLI membership don’t have to tell me when they use my songs, but it’s encouraging when they do,” she said. “People who don’t have CCLI can still e-mail me and I can give them permission to use them.”
She got the idea from a friend she sometimes collaborates and records with who puts his music on the Internet. “This is not a new thing,” she said. “Any member of CCLI can get free music off the Internet with their membership fee. I make a little money from CCLI with my music, but I’m not in it for that.”
At the same time, she doesn’t want her music being abused or wrongly used. “At this point, I don’t mind giving my music away, but I don’t want someone to go out and make a profit off my music,” she said. “And I want to ensure that the music is being used in Christian worship settings.”
A member of the Christian Songwriters Web Ring, she said the Internet scares people because of the unchristian things it has on it, but it can be a ministry tool, too. “I don’t keep my music in the closet this way,” she said. “I’m using it for the Lord. It seems like a little thing, but I’ve gotten so much joy out of this web site.”
Richardson, who wants to pursue an evangelistic concert ministry when she graduates, said she already had done the recordings when she found she could make a web page under her Internet service provider membership. Her web page is http://members.aol.com/beckyricha

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