March 1, 2024

Music With a Mission

A review of MusicVerse

Justin Kim

MusicVerse is an Adventist app that has been designed to host a vast library of hymns, Scripture songs, instrumental Christian music, and other sacred melodies. The musical styles are intentionally more conservative, yet modern in approach.

It is available on both Apple (iOS 13.0 or later) and Android platforms on two levels: free and premium. A 14-day free trial can access the premium level, which is based on donations. This higher level removes advertisements and allows for offline listening. There are currently 150 reviews on the Apple App Store with an average rating of 4.9 out of 5, while there are 516 reviews on the Google Play Store with an average rating of 4.9 out of 5.

At the end of 2020 and at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Bible worker and her team who were composing Scripture songs wanted to get them out to others. They pulled together a development team and launched the app to house music from Adventist musicians all over the world. Since then, MusicVerse has been downloaded more than 35,000 times from more than 216 countries with music from 109 artists, 204 albums, and 1,956 songs.

The MusicVerse app is ultimately a digital platform that allows the exploration of music by genre, artist, album, or song title, and the creation of personalized playlists that align with a listener’s mood. It is a similar user experience to other music streaming platforms, such as Spotify, Deezer, and SoundCloud. There is also a web player for the desktop experience.

The app has four main sections. The first is the landing page, where new releases, popular artists, trends, favorites, and top selections are shown. The second is a personalized library that houses purchased albums, followed artists, and specialized playlists.

The third section is the songbook section that contains all Adventist hymns by page number and categories, as well as a Scripture songbook by similar organization. This is one of the unique features of MusicVerse. The hymn and Scripture song pages contain not only the lyrics but also the sheet music with notes and chords, being an excellent resource for musicians. There is also a very convenient font toggle for those who want to change to a smaller or larger size.

MusicVerse has joined Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries (ASi) as a member and collaborated with other ministries such as ASAP Ministries to bring awareness of missionary work in unreached regions. This showcasing is found in the fourth section in a mission tab where missionary ministries can share videos to inspire listeners and viewers. Additionally, what makes this product unique is that by supporting the app, users are also funding Bible work programs in Southeast Asia, building schools, caring for refugees and the persecuted, and providing humanitarian aid.

After using the app for a couple of months, I have a few observations. There are some minor inconsistencies in the text. For example, some areas have the Bible references spelled out in words, while others have them as numbers. There are some punctuation and capitalization errors in the lyrics, but nothing significant enough that take away from the experience. Also, it would have been convenient to view the entire selection of musical offerings on one page rather than depend on the app’s curation. Last, having the option to transcribe the chords would be a great additional feature.

Nonetheless, the user experience overall is very positive. Navigation is intuitive, and the layout is aesthetically pleasing. Best of all is the music itself. The app provides consistently good-quality music that is ideal for Sabbath use as well as personal devotions. The Scripture songs are free, while the music from other artists can be purchased. It will prove to be an invaluable resource for teaching families, small groups, young people, and youth. The Scripture songs do not have the antiquated feel that Scripture songs are typically associated with. There are great harmonies and melodies that establish a modern feel, without mimicking contemporary styles. The result is greater ease in the memorization of more Scripture texts.

Among future plans are arrangements to include more mission videos with other collaborators beyond ASAP Ministries, which is currently the sole mission video contributor. The app will also feature the ability to share playlists on social media. Further, the app developers hope to find ways for Adventist artists to share and sell their compositions, and to provide a platform for Adventist musicians to share their skills and expertise through masterclasses. They also plan to offer an additional devotional app with podcasts in collaboration with various ministries. The MusicVerse app is a valuable addition to anyone’s spiritual development tool kit while simultaneously supporting the advancement of missions.