Managing songs

Migrating songs from your Library to the Songs section

We can help customers with songs in their Planning module Library to migrate them over to the Songs section. The migration process is non-destructive - song library items are simply archived once they have been migrated, but historic song usage is retained for CCLI reported. Once migrated, your users can then fully enjoy all the great song management functionality explained in this article. To request migration, email the ChurchSuite Support team.

In this article

Introduction - the Songs section
Adding a song
Chord charts
Song files
Adding songs to plans
Importing songs from Planning Center
CCLI song usage reporting
The plan page song/file viewer

Introduction - the Songs section

While your Planning module Library is the core repository for storing frequently-used library items of various Types - such as prayers, liturgy, announcements, etc. - the Songs section is the home for all your songs. From this section, you can search for songs - perhaps using the Advanced Search to find songs with a particular Theme or Genre - Add new songs or View, Edit, Archive or Delete existing songs. Archived songs will persist on past and future-dated Plans but you can only add Active status songs to new Plans. Archived songs can be Set as active again. Deleting a song will delete the song usage history and remove the song from all Plans, past and future. Note that CCLI numbers are always clickable URLs and will open the song to view in your CCLI SongSelect© account.

Adding a song

From the Songs section, click Add song. As you type in the Name field, song suggestions are made, matching against ChurchSuite's song database, or adding an entirely new song. You can search by song name, CCLI song number, or artist name.

Selecting a song from the ChurchSuite database automatically populates the song's details into the various fields on the pop-up. The ChurchSuite song database contains over 120,000 songs and is kept up to date as new popular songs are released. Optionally add any additional known song details - the CCLI song number is needed if you wish to track song usage and produce CCLI reports. Note that this is the CCLI "song number", not your organisation's CCLI "license number".

You can categorise songs by assigning one or more Themes or Genres. Choose from your existing themes/genres or create and assign new ones on-the-fly. CCLI Song Select© helpfully provide themes for most songs in their database or you can categorise songs using your own naming convention. Themes and Genres cease to exist when the last instance of usage is removed from an active or archived song. The Advanced Search in the Songs section makes searching for songs that match selected themes and genres really intuitive!

You can maintain multiple arrangements for a song. When first adding a song, the arrangement Name defaults to the song name, but you can optionally specify a different arrangement name to more easily distinguish the arrangement when later searching for songs to add to a plan. Note also the option to search and select a Spotify link, and the Video URL field, perhaps for a YouTube video link. Click Save to add the new song. You can later further Edit a song should you wish to make changes or add additional song details.

You are now taken to the newly-added song "View" page showing all the song details and the song arrangement you've just added. From the Arrangements tab, you can optionally add additional arrangements for the same song - perhaps in a different key or style. Over time, and as this song is used on your Plans, the Usage tab will provide a helpful history of song usage on Plans; this information is further collated in the CCLI Report in the module's Reports section. For each song arrangement, notice the song Actions to View, Duplicate, Edit, Edit chart, Manage files, Delete and View changes - we'll explore some of these later in this article.

Chord charts

Selecting the Edit chart action for a song arrangement - shown above - opens the Edit chart pop-up. The pop-up will show empty for a song without a chart. As you type or paste chords/lyrics into the Chart box, the Preview on the right will update for the selected Format - Whitespace and Bracket Notation formats are supported. The arrangement Key is top left, but note the option to Transpose in the preview. If you are manually typing in your chord chart or making changes to an existing chart, you can optionally use the Chords and Section pills bottom left.

Here's an example of a chord arrangement that has been copied and pasted into the Chart field in Bracket Notation. You can use the resizer tool in the bottom right corner of the Chart box to change the size of the box you're working in. Click to Save your changes.

Note the Chart icon that distinguishes arrangements that have a chart. Clicking an arrangement Name will open the arrangement to view in a pop-up...

...like this example. Mirroring the song Actions shown above, you can Duplicate, Edit, Edit chart and Manage files for the arrangement; you can also Transpose - transposition only applies as the song is being viewed; it's not a permanent change of key. However, you can Edit chart to make a permanent change to the song's Key or you can optionally add other arrangements in an alternative permanent key if you wish.

Song files

As an alternative to maintaining chord charts - explained above - you can also upload files in other formats to an arrangement - perhaps a chord chart or lyric chart. If you upload chord charts in the commonly-used ChordPro or OnSong format (.chordpro, .onsong, .chopro, .cho files) your musicians will be able to make use of the Transpose functionality when they're performing songs from the plan page file viewer (see later). You can also upload chord/lyric files in other formats - PDF, Word, and Text files - however, these will be read-only files in the plan page file view, and can't be transposed.

To upload a file for an arrangement select Manage files.

On the Linked files pop-up, either browse or search from your existing, previously uploaded Files...

...or click on the Upload tab where you can either select to browse and select a file to upload from your device, or you can drag files from your device into the drop-zone. Selected/Uploaded files are added to the Linked files list on the left. Click X in the top-right corner of the pop-up to close it once have finished. Note that when uploading files you have the option to assign a Colour and Category to the file, which is ideal if you wish to further distinguish or categorise your song files from other Planning module files that you might also be uploading and storing in ChurchSuite.

Song files uploaded to an arrangement are listed in the Media & Files section, alongside any Spotify or Video links already added - media and files are clickable, so you can easily view/watch/listen to media/files.

Adding songs to plans

Working on a Plan's "View" page you can easily add songs and other library items to the plan. Click Add song (or Add [library] item - which will add the song/item to the end of the plan. Songs/items can be dragged and re-ordered as desired.

Alternatively, hover your cursor over an existing plan item Time and select Add song, which will insert a song into that place on the plan. In this example, we've previously added a "Worship Set" item to the Plan. We can now insert the various songs we want to use, positioning them after that plan item using the Add song action. Again, added songs can be re-ordered as desired.

Clicking Add song opens the Add song pop-up. From here you can search and select a song from your Planning module Songs library, or perform a Global search to find a song from ChurchSuite's song database of over 120,000 popular songs.

Optionally add or change any song details relevant to this plan. For example, you may prefer to set an overall duration for the "Worship Set" plan item rather than set each individual song's Duration; ideal where you don't want to be overly specific to the worship team about a song duration, but where they do need to know the allotted "Worship Set" duration within the plan. Click Save to add the song to the Plan. Note that ad hoc changes to song details in this context are specific to this plan only, allowing you to make changes to song details just for a particular plan without those changes affecting the song details in your Songs library.

Continue adding songs as appropriate. Expanding a song in view reveals the song details and any linked media and files. These media and files are clickable and open to view in a pop-up.

See our related support article on Plan pages for further information about publishing and sharing plans.

Importing songs from Planning Center

For customers migrating from Planning Center, you can export a CSV file of your existing song data from the Songs section of your Planning Center account.

You can then import the CSV into the Songs section of the Planning module. Click Import songs:

Click Choose file to browse/select the file and then click Upload CSV file:

A preview of the songs to be imported is shown. If you notice any errors or fields that need updating, you can Cancel and make changes to the CSV file before uploading the file again, otherwise, click Import All Songs:

The import task continues in the background and, depending on the number of songs, may take several minutes to complete. Once completed, the Songs section of the module lists the imported songs.

CCLI song usage reporting

A record of historical and future song Usage from your Plans is maintained for all songs. From here you can see when songs have been included in service plans, and which arrangements were performed.

The Planning module's Reports section includes a CCLI Report, which can be filtered for a range of dates, and optionally by Service and Plan Status, to Generate a summary of aggregated song usage. The report can be exported for use when completing a CCLI Return.

The plan page song/file viewer

We've produced a related support article on Plan pages with lots of information about publishing and sharing plans. When sharing a plan page URL, your musicians can access a helpful plan song/file viewer from the Plan page - ideal for those wishing to access songs on a device on their music stand. You can view the plan page and access the viewer by selecting Go to plan page.

The Plan page opens to view. Plan pages are read-only. Clicking on the Files counter at the top of the plan page will open the file viewer.

The Viewer lists all files on the left - typically song files and charts. Clicking on a song chart or file will open it to view on the right. For songs with charts or files in a supported format, the Key can be optionally transposed. Musicians can use the viewer to navigate from song to song, perhaps using a touchscreen device on their music stand.

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