We're pretty used to paying for things. We pay for our coffee in the morning, for our rent, and for the clothes we wear. We all know that nothing is truly free.
The songs we sing on Sunday are no different. They cost money.
We don't have to write a check to each individual composer, however. Certainly many of the songs we sing are in hymn books we already own. When we bought the book, we bought the rights to sing the songs in it. Many of our songs have been around for generations, and nobody 'owns' them anymore, so nobody needs to be paid when they're sung.
But there are lots of people who make their living writing new music for the church. We've sung and enjoyed lots of these songs in the last few years. We want more like them. So we need to make sure the writers and composers get paid.
We pay them by paying dues to an organization called CCLI. It's sort of like a co-op for songwriters. We pay CCLI a flat fee, and then CCLI pays the artists.
Our CCLI subscription is not cheap - almost $500 per year, but what a small price to pay to ensure we have top quality music to praise God with.
So we just put another quarter in the jukebox... 1,940 quarters to be exact.