Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

Hello colleagues,

As you know, membership in Composers’ Forum is free. The site is not free to keep going however. It costs $599 a year, which is paid to Ning, the company that provides the technology that powers the site. Our current license is paid through the end of October, at which time the fee for the coming year will need to be paid. Last year, the members stepped up during our annual fund raising drive, which will officially run in the month of September, and paid the fee. Since we are now approaching September, it’s time to put the question out there: do you want to continue using Composers’ Forum? Show it by contributing to the fundraiser when it starts (you can also donate before then and anything you contribute will count towards the annual fee). There are many competing sites out there, on FB and on free discussion boards, Reddit, 4Chan, and who knows where else. It will be up to the membership to decide if those services are where the future is, or whether we should continue. This thread is open to any comments or questions you may have about continuing Composers" Forum -

Gav Brown
Site Manager
Composers’ Forum

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I didn't realize those videos were on the ning server, that could be a pretty heavy load that's easily avoided, even if YT can be a pain to deal with.

Lots of options here I guess, you could have different membership levels and payment plans, even farm it out to Patreon I suppose, but I agree that CF is worth paying for and I support whatever you want to do Gav.

That large backlog of inactive members could be an asset, that's 4000 email addresses which are worth something. If you sent them all a contest invitation costing $25 you should make some money. That's a lot of work of course but maybe that could be simplified too. Appoint some judges to share the load, divide all the entries into playoff rounds and let the winners advance to the finals?  Just a thought.

As a moderately long term member of the forum, my thoughts are:

- I find the current forum’s technology works well for me. 

- I don’t post videos much, and would be satisfied if they could only be included in this forum’s posting via links to YouTube or another service.

- I too was previously briefly a member in the past and left because of the flamers.  I recall that, as usual, the worst offenders were posting anonymously .  I think one of the best things about this forum is that most people identify themselves. My experience is that in such forums posters are generally much more civil than in the ones where everyone posts as “Cat Momma” or “The Cool One.”

- I don’t see much of a problem with inactive members.  After all, anyone on the internet can look at this forum, so there may be hundreds, thousands, or millions of unregistered people who occasionally look at the site.  What is the difference between these unregistered lurkers and registered ones?  Or is it that storing all the members’ information is a cost?

- In deciding whether to require payment, we should remember that managing payments itself is an overhead cost.

- I don’t think a site like this should be selling the email addresses of its members, even inactive ones.  The resulting spam is likely to cause a negative reaction.

- I wonder if some musical organization, like Society of Composers, American Composers Forum, or New Music USA would be interested in sponsoring this site, probably limiting access to it to their own members.

- I would advise against going to FaceBook.  Many people, including myself, have made a point of not joining it, and I don’t intend to in the future.

Addenda:

- I'd be disappointed if this became an ad supported forum.  Not only are ads irritating, but their presence changes the whole atmosphere of a forum.

- Would it be possible to get a grant from some government or non-profit organization?

We probably need to keep talking about this topic, it's vital if we want Composer's Forum to continue.

I have to say I do not see the point in paid membership to a forum which is quite unusual in my experience. There must be forum sItes with apropriate functions not requiring 600 dolllars yearly! What functions does "ning" have making it worth that amount?

Gav, 150 members pitching in a mere $4 a year pays the fee. With 200 members contributing $3 a year...that's andless than 1 cent per day, the challenge is met. The profit margin on the mugs and T- shirts should easily cover the bulk of the burden.  $14.00 for a mug? ...really? 

Thanks to all who continue to post on the thread, some replies:

@Ingo - for now, a one time a year donation campaign is the only model I am wiling to try. I can give on some video issues if we upgrade, which I will seriously consider if we make it to then

@Jon - we will not move to an ad-supported model

@Charles - the one technical feature that Ning offers that other sites do not, at least not to the extent that Ning does, is the flowing of all forum conversations to the home page. I find this single feature vastly superior to other platforms, where you have to dig around to find things. I would say that there is another feature of this site that is an advantage - a generally nicer culture than on most composer platforms.

@Roger - I have never made a penny on the store. I use it to generate awards for the occasional contests held here. 

As far as Charles' closing comment goes, the conduct of the site is far more down to its administrator than the basic software. There are a couple of niggles about that software though.

One is that if you're within your 15 minutes' editing time and all you want is replace a file, you can't during the edit. Delete your old file and there's no way to choose a new one, so the new one has to go in a subsequent post, or you copy the whole post, delete it, pasting it into a new post so you can add the new file within that post.

I'll be making a contribution in precisely 10 days which I hope would be a fair share, hoping that at least 15 other members do. One can't expect to ride on others' backs all the time! I have to pay an annual subscription to London Composers and while I may not get my work played here I get plenty of encouragement.

Gav, That's great. I wasn't suggesting that you were 'profiteering' lol 


 
Gav Brown said:

Thanks to all who continue to post on the thread, some replies:

@Ingo - for now, a one time a year donation campaign is the only model I am wiling to try. I can give on some video issues if we upgrade, which I will seriously consider if we make it to then

@Jon - we will not move to an ad-supported model

@Charles - the one technical feature that Ning offers that other sites do not, at least not to the extent that Ning does, is the flowing of all forum conversations to the home page. I find this single feature vastly superior to other platforms, where you have to dig around to find things. I would say that there is another feature of this site that is an advantage - a generally nicer culture than on most composer platforms.

@Roger - I have never made a penny on the store. I use it to generate awards for the occasional contests held here. 

Just a suggestion, Gav,

I was caught out again wanting to add a file to a post during editing. I couldn't. I had to post the file in an additional post. Is it possible to fix it to offer uploading facilities during an edit?

Hi Dane, for now, the only thing I can suggest is to try a different browser. If we reach goal (599.00) and the site continues into next year, I will commit to an upgrade, which I will pay the cost for, perhaps that will help

Gav

Yes, my browser does seem a bit wonky at times but it usually behaves itself. I'm reluctant to use Fire...whatever, that mozarella program and IE is probably worse than this one, far too slow. I'll have to live with it, I suppose.

Just donated. 

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