The Evolution of Hillsong Music: From Australian Pentecostal Congregation into Global Brand

Tanya Riches, Tom Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


Branding is increasingly acknowledged as a marketing strategy used by transnational religious institutions commonly known as ‘megachurches’. Commentators on this phenomenon often view the branding process as an artificial driver of organisational growth rather than as concomitant with the evolution of a group of people. This article examines the history and development of the music and branding of the Australian megachurch Hillsong. Within the space of 26 years, Hillsong evolved from a ‘local’ Australian congregation into a transnational enterprise. During each phase of its development, its music communicated the vision, values, and focus of its leaders and congregation visually, aurally, and sonorously. Hillsong’s branding has thus proceeded organically, both driving and being driven by the church’s growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-36
Number of pages20
JournalAustralian Journal of Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Music
  • Brand image
  • popular music
  • Pentecostalism
  • Megachurch

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