Brand of Choice

Why Hillsong Music is Winning Sales and Souls


  • E.H. McIntyre



Hillsong Church


Amid current competing ideologies and priorities, Hillsong has found a formula that fuses aspects of secular consumerism and individualism with Pentecostal religious fervour. This paper will examine the ways Hillsong music is used to constitute religious experience and how religious experience is (re)packaged and sold by the lucrative Hillsong Music label. This paper looks at musical and lyrical examples from two popular artists on the Hillsong Music label, Hillsong United and Darlene Zschech and examines how and why their songs are used in worship. Data is taken from observation of Hillsong church services and from the recorded music available on CD. The paper concludes that Hillsong music actively appropriates mainstream popular music styles and utilises their appeal to the modern religious consumer. Hillsong music emphasises feeling and experience over doctrine by placing the ultimate authority and control over an individual’s religious practice into their own hands. Hillsong promotion includes a lucrative music label that extends the Pentecostal emphasis on personal experience beyond the space of the church itself and recreates it in the marketable form of the CD. It is recommended that this paper acts as a step towards a wider scale study of the popularity of Hillsong and its music, and the way it shapes and reflects Australian religiosity.

Author Biography

E.H. McIntyre

Elisha McIntyre is studying religion at the University of Sydney. Her interests include contemporary trends in Christianity, the relationship between the religious and popular culture and the theology and sociology of New Religious Movements. This essay has been developed from a paper presented at the AASR Conference in 2005. [email protected]


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How to Cite

McIntyre, E. (2007). Brand of Choice: Why Hillsong Music is Winning Sales and Souls. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 20(2), 175–194.