Universal Music Publishing Group and Hillsong are singing from the same hymn sheet.
The Australian mega-church which counts Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens among its famous followers, has signed an administration and writer development agreement with the music publishing giant covering the U.K. and Europe.
The new deal, announced Thursday morning, includes both Hillsong Music Publishing, the music publishing arm of Hillsong Church, and SHOUT! Music Publishing, which boasts an international roster of composers, writers and catalogues, including Ben Fielding, Brooke Ligertwood, Reuben Morgan, Benjamin Hastings, Alex Pappas, Aodhan King, Hannah and the recent signing Josh Grimmett, co-writer on the MEDUZA hit, ‘Piece Of Your Heart’.
Combined, Hillsong Music Publishing and SHOUT! Music Publishing represent a “significant” and growing catalogue of Christian and commercial works, UMPG reps say.
Through the new arrangement, UMPG will work with Hillsong to provide admin services for the church’s catalogue across the Continent and the U.K. and both parties will be expected to collaborate in writer development opportunities, and on joint signings.
The administration agreement with Hillsong is “a fantastic relationship that has grown from initially exploring collaborative and creative ideas to formalising a partnership in a unique environment,” explains Dougie Bruce, UMPG U.K. A&R.
Hillsong Worship, ‘What a Beautiful Name’
UMPG will also handle some 11,000 existing works, and new signings and songs will further increase this catalogue,” Bruce adds.
“We are looking forward to integrating their writers into our team and identifying key opportunities across the music sphere.”
It might not be your thing, but never underestimate the commercial power of Hillsong. The Pentecostal church has locations in 23 countries and 200,000 people attend its services each week.
The groups published by Hillsong Music Publishing include Hillsong Worship, Hillsong Young & Free, Hillsong UNITED and Hillsong Kids. Hillsong Worship’s catalogue is sung by an estimated 50 million people worldwide every week, and the group snared a Grammy Award in 2018 with ‘What a Beautiful Name’ taking out Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song.
Hillsong Worship, ‘Who You Say I Am’
Earlier this year, Hillsong Worship scored its second No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Airplay chart with ‘Who You Say I Am’. The act has chalked up 13 entries on Christian Airplay since 2011 including “What a Beautiful Name,” which ruled the chart for nine weeks in 2017.
Hillsong Worship sister act Hillsong United are record-setters, their 2013 song ‘Oceans’ logging an astonishing 61 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs chart.
Also, three Hillsong United titles have reached the top 5 of the Billboard 200 albums chart, People (No. 2), Zion (No. 5) and Empires (No. 5).
Hillsong, ‘Oceans (Where feet may fail)’
It’s a similar tale in Australia, where the church has bagged a string of No. 1 albums, including two in 2015 alone, Open Heaven/River Wild and Empires, while Zion ruled in 2013 and For All You’ve Done hit the top in 2004.
“UMPG are leaders in the music publishing world and we’re looking forward to exploring the opportunities for our song writers and have great respect and trust in their team,” says Steve McPherson, Publishing Manager of Hillsong, on the new deal. “We have had fruitful relationships within the Universal family in different parts of the world for many years and we’re very excited to extend this to the U.K. and Europe.”