Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

Hello Colleagues,

Composers' Forum has been around about 12 years and it's now time to consider if it should continue. There are many boards and web sites out there, plus reddit, plus facebook, so there are plenty of places composers can go to to have discussions with each other. Many of these sites offer free membership, as does Composers' Forum. But Composers' Forum is not free to the admins who run it - it costs $599 a year to keep going. Admins have been paying this cost since the site began, out of a love for music composition. We've asked the members to voluntarily contribute each year to help pay for the site, with limited success, amounting to at best about 10% of this cost. So this year is a decision year - it's now up to you, the members, to decide if this site has had its time and should close down or continue if you would be willing to help pay to keep it going. I'm hosting this discussion so you can share any thoughts you have on this. The site license is up for renewal at the end of October, I will make a decision whether or not to renew it sometime in September, in part, based on anything that comes from this discussion - 

Gav Brown
Composers' Forum
Site Administrator

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It should definitely continue. I have contributed money in the past and will do so again when called upon. The large user base is something that cannot be recreated easily, as witnessed by the two 'spin off' forums that were begun by former members here. Neither has approached anything like a critical mass. While the active members change over time, people come and people go, it remains the only place of its kind and size on the internet. The home page is special, too. I have not seen its like anywhere.

It just keeps on going, like the Energizer Bunny, at a time when many forums seem to be withering.  It keeps gaining new members at a steady rate. There really is no place like it. While it may have been livelier a few years ago, and it went through some rather unseemly times not too far back, the ship seems to have righted itself, and I am very glad I returned after my own rather foolish behavior. 

It would not take much in the way of donations if enough people step up. Sixty members contributing 10.00 would do it. That surely is not too much ask.

I'm a 2019 member but would be able to contribute. The site is both interesting and educational.  I don't know how one might deal with the 'flybynights' though!

Have you thought of giving the donation thing more exposure, e.g. "Target donations this month // donations received // shortfall, etc.? About the only other forum I visit (deals with model-making) has this sort of thing in the R.H. margin.

I would be wiling to donate more than 10 % per year. When I was active here years ago, I used to donate.

Thanks to all who have replied so far. In response to Dane - all those things have been tried, some of them multiple times.

I find this site a valuable resource and hope it continues.

Some classical music sites have section of announcements of calls for scores and contests.  This seems to attract more members, especially if you have to be a site member to see them.  This would take some effort to set up, but once issuers of calls and contests find out about it, they would probably just start sending things in.

I think that people are more likely to send in money under a system which offers both free memberships and paid memberships which give extra benefits.  I know this isn't logical -- in theory, people who value a web site's services should just be willing to support the site financially.  But psychologically, people tend to be more likely to pay extra for something if they think they are getting something extra and specific in return.  I realize that having free/paid memberships would involve more overhead.

Although I love to create and compose I haven't been a real active member over the past years. The "imaginary machine" composition stirred my interest "Thanks Gav" and I have begun finding time to put more things together as well as do a deeper dive into My Imaginary Machine piece as compared to the original. I do know that composing/arranging/scoring etc. take time and effort. The love is innate but the time must be found. I am excited this site exists. In my short time on the list it seems the folks who submit and interact here care about being supportive about what goes on here. (The Mission?)  

Is there an easily identified support button with a "We Need Your Support!" sign stating the cost of the server space and (administration) and the reason(s) why folks might want to support this organization?  Maybe something similar to 

wikipedia.... 

I just found the Large DONATE tab at the Top ..... 

I guess it's just time for the annual fund drive.

These can be posted in the "Contests" discussion (and have been)

Jon Corelis said:

Some classical music sites have section of announcements of calls for scores and contests. 

Yes, but that depends on forum members volunteering the information, and so is hit-or-miss.  I'm thinking of a site like American Composers Forum, where members have access to an Opportunities section which almost all current composer contests and calls for scores in the world.  I don't know the details of how they get this information, but I assume the site is known to the managers of such contests and calls and they just send them in.  Some other sites offer similar lists accessible to everyone without membership.  This not only has the advantage of completeness, but the listing site can impose a standard format on the announcements (e.g. they have to say whether there is an entry fee, what the qualifications for entry are, etc.) If this site had just a complete and continuing standard current list of opportunities, many people would check it regularly, and while they are here might participate in the site in other ways.


Gav Brown said:

These can be posted in the "Contests" discussion (and have been)

Jon Corelis said:

Some classical music sites have section of announcements of calls for scores and contests. 

Good idea!

I think this forum is valuable to composers and should continue. I am willing to donate if after this discussion we decide that is the best way to continue. It is certainly unfair to expect admins to bear the cost of this site in addition to their other duties.

I do have some questions and thoughts about our situation.  We either have to lower costs or increase revenue or both.  Other websites have advertising, sometimes to an obnoxious extent, is this something we can start here?

I have heard that the Ning server is relatively expensive, could we move the domain to a cheaper server without negative impact?

Public television and Wikipedia survive using donations but their annual fund drives are more aggressive than CF.  Would our admins be willing to design and install (and live with) a more 'in-your-face' approach?

We have here a good collection of talent and experience. Can we ask some of our accomplished members to do some pro bono work for our members in exchange for donations?

Businesses and individuals often contribute goods and services to benefit non-profit organizations but somebody would have to solicit them, is anyone willing to do that?

Just some thoughts.

Ning, while it has its detractors and issues (using the insecure Flash Player is one) is nevertheless unique in the aesthetic aspects of it forums. This forum would not be the same if ported over to a cheaper venue. It would be a downgrade, and people would see it. It would not be the same visual experience, and I believe it would suffer on that account.

Another attraction about this place is that it has always had a kind of quirky quality to it. I for one feel at home here, and I can't say the same for other places I have tried (Talk Classical, for example. I joined awhile back, made some posts, and then just stopped. Never felt at home there). We have all levels of composers here, or nearly all. OK, really successful, established composers don't come here, they inhabit the professional venues. That's fine, but there needs to be a place for the rest of us. And all levels of ability and talent are given a hearing here, encouragement offered and advice given. No one is too big or small to merit dismissal.

Gav, if the response is not sufficient, I'm sure there are enough of us who truly value this place to make the necessary contributions. But let's all see what we can do. Can you spare 5.00? 2.00? Everything helps, and with this member base there is no reason it cannot be member-funded.

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