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Hillsong Music is Christian music produced by Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia as well as offshoot churches, Hillsong London and Hillsong Kiev.
Hillsong albums are released and distributed by Hillsong Music Australia, the resource arm of Hillsong Church.
Hillsong Church's popularity in Christian praise and worship music stems from the inauguration of the Hillsong Conference in the late 1980s.
The first publication of choruses were written by Hills CLC members, especially Darlene Zschech.
Since then, live praise and worship albums have been produced each year. Other music series include the Worship series, United, Youth Alive, Hillsong Kids and Instrumental series. They have also released two Christmas albums and several compilation albums.
Hillsong music is accepted and sung in many Christian churches worldwide. Some Hillsong songs have distinct gospel influences (see Gospel music and Urban contemporary gospel) and this has probably contributed to its acceptance.
People Just Like Us was the first ever Christian album to go Gold in Australia as well as the first to go Platinum. To date, all Hillsong live worship albums have achieved Gold status in Australia.
In 1996, Hillsong Music reached international prominence with the release of Shout to the Lord produced by Integrity Music. This was Integrity Music's first live worship album featuring a female worship leader.
The 2004 Hillsong live worship album For All You've Done, debuted at #1 on the Australian Record Industry Association album charts. This is the first time an album of Contemporary Christian music has topped the album charts in Australia.
There was some controversy about this outcome as almost all of the albums were sold at Hillsong's annual conference held in early July. The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) have defended the outcome noting that the album sold more copies than any other record on sale in Australia that week.
50 gold and platinum sales awards achieved worldwide. Hillsong Music has also achieved many international awards;
Worship Pastor Darlene Zschech is perhaps the most well-known worship leader in Hillsong. She is the composer of the famous worship song "Shout to the Lord". Zschech became worship leader after Geoff Bullock resigned.
Bullock had composed most of Hillsong's early songs in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Russell Fragar, former Music Director, played a large part in producing early Hillsong albums until leaving Hillsong Church for Virginia, USA in 2001.
Other prominent worship leaders include Reuben Morgan, who rose to fame for his song I Give You My Heart and Marty Sampson who was integral in the success of early Hillsong United albums. Recently Joel Houston, son of Brian and Bobbie Houston, has become a main worship leader after writing the popular song "Everyday".
Darlene Zschech explained Hillsong's stance in her book Extravagant Worship. She writes the Hillsong team pray "Father, let them quickly get their eyes off of us. We just want to point them to you, God, because you are the Author of truth. You are the only One who is to be praised."
Early albums were released solely on cassette and CD. Video recordings of the live albums have also been made for VHS since the second album in 1993, and additionally for DVD since 2000, with increasing additional content such as documentaries and extra songs.
The Hillsong United series CDs have included an additional free part-length DVD since 2004. Several music books have also been published.
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