A dream to revolutionise the Christian music industry and raise £100,000 for mission
Profits from the sales of worship music will soon be diverted away from iTunes and record label shareholders in favour of supporting mission organisations, according to new plans by Tim Cheshire.
The Superhero frontman is teaming up with fellow Christian musicians to release a 10-track charity album titled In God We Trust toward the end of 2014.
Rather than one band promoting the record, multiple collections of musicians and singers will perform and sell the album simultaneously across the globe. Each consumer will be able to choose one of five charities their purchase will support.
To ensure all profits (after basic admin costs) go to charity, the release will only be available through Music for Mission – a brand new online platform that unlike Amazon and iTunes does not charge artists to sell their music. In time, Tim hopes other bands will be able to use the platform to sell their music and donate the money to good causes.
By cutting out the middle men, Tim is confident £100,000 will be raised within the first month of In God We Trust's release.
The Scotsman's band Superhero have spent years spreading the Gospel through their gigs across the world, distributing Bibles in Eastern Europe, and partnering with well known names such as Luis Palau.
Despite releasing five albums the band has yet to raise substantial funds to support their mission activities. It was this frustration that led to the idea of Mission Music and In God We Trust.
"For the last three years I've been pondering over the idea that there must be a way to generate relatively large sums of money through the Christian music industry which could be diverted away from EMI shareholders, iTunes and whatever other middle man might be involved and directed toward anything that is missional," Tim explains.
"When In God We Trust play in Estonia the way they'll encourage people to support mission is by buying the CD which will be the same CD I'm encouraging people to buy in Birmingham."
Tim explains the alternative of working with a record label would not be viable for the band's mission.
"If we were to make this record and signed it to whoever, even on a distribution deal, every time we sold a CD we would make slightly less than £1. That's just the way the music industry is," he explains.
"All of the profit is essentially sucked out of it. Involved in that deal would mean we would have to buy the CDs from the record label.
"Even when we're selling them at events, where we could potentially make the most amount of money to plow into mission if we do it the traditional way we have to buy them back so the only profit we make is £2 and that's just not good enough for me. It's never been good enough for me."
Tim says he's been "fairly creative" in his dealings with record labels and not without reason.
"I think all the record deals suck so bad to the point where it's immoral. That's just what I think and I'm happy to talk to anyone about that and go through the details of how that works because they are horrendous. As a Christian community we should be setting up deals for Christian artists, who are slogging their guts out, which are much fairer. That's just not happening.
"God bless all of the other people doing music, a lot of them do give some money to mission and that's awesome but this is giving all to mission."
He's hoping the great British Christian public will want to support mission by getting behind the album, buying it, and telling their friends about it.
"This is the only place they can buy the music they want to listen to in a way their supporting mission," he says.
In fact, if he had his way, Music Mission would "would totally replace everything that exists already" because the money from buying the music will not go to a "mysterious mission pot" but the charity of their choice.
"There's literally no limit to the amount of music that can be raised. It's not asking people to give, its asking them to make a purchase which in turn will be a huge blessing to them," he concludes.
"The idea we want to perpetuate through this project is when it comes to mission and worship they can't ever be separated. They are intrinsically connected and they're part of the same thing. If we want to be the worshippers God is asking us to be who worship in spirit and truth we must be missional people. If we're not missional people as a lifestyle then we're not truly being the kind of worshippers God wants us to be.
"We're gathering people together to worship through music but all the time we're talking about mission and ultimately at the end of it we will have helped to resource mission by buying the worship songs."