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Proudly Presenting: The Patron Feature

2015-04-17 - Site Updates

We are proud to present the Patron feature! 

What Is This Feature? 

The patron feature was designed in order to provide a destination for entrepreneurial Hauptwerk users to send supporters, from their own, fan-base (outside Hauptwerk), for them to be able to contribute to them financially. (for more in-depth exploration of the tools and thinking behind the patron feature visit "Recent Site Changes Clarified")

We are giving a chance for listeners to show their appreciation by pledging as little as $2 to organists to show their support. They have the option to do this as a single pledge, or on a monthly basis. In return the organist may have content or services specifically available to people who have pledged to them.

* Please note that pledging is not mandatory to continue using the site. The site and its' regular content will continue to be free. 

Why Are We Doing This?

Being a musician is a tough line of work. You often do a lot more work than anyone ever sees and get compensated much less than your hourly commitment might suggest. We wanted to provide an optional platform for artists to build a following of people who support what they do in a financial way. Now you can use as the hub to send your fans and supporters to and they can contribute to your artistic endeavors.

In the old days, musicians had patrons. Patrons were wealthy people who would provide living expenses to an artist that they wished to support. They did this for lots of reasons (loved art, loved the status symbol, needed soundtracks for various events, etc). Wealthy patrons don'™t grow on trees but they don'™t have to. Artists can achieve the same support now by reaching out for the support of many patrons who pledge small amounts. These small amounts add up. Getting tangible support from lots of patrons is extremely gratifying to an artist. Patrons can share in the mission and direction of an artist by pledging varying amounts to encourage and support the works of their favorite artists. We take a small amount in order to cover processing fees, admin and to contribute to the ongoing upkeep and improvement of the website.

How Does It Work?

On your user page as well as on all of your pieces there will be a Pledge button. Clicking on this will take a user to your pledge page, which contains:

  • About You (Information you would like to share about yourself and/or your musical journey).
  • Pledge amount and link.
  • Your goodies list.

Once a user has pledged an amount, the money will be held by us. Every month we will be transferring the collected pledges (minimum of $100) to you. If $100 has not been reached at the end of the month, we will continue holding on to your pledges until the minimum has been reached.

You can sign up by clicking here or going to My Account > Gather Pledges


HMaier (2015-05-03) Log in to Reply
I agree with the concept of donations for maintaining the web site, even a yearly fee (donation) from sample set producers would be an idea to think about.

I totally disagree with the donation concept for contributors. This site is based on voluntariness and "non-profit" concept.
If parishes realize this, it would be regarded as competitiveness for corresponding CD productions.
Especially for this reason, the OAM license doesn't allow any paid downloads etc.

Sample set producers could do (and do) give free set copies for their demo organists.
That's a good way of appreciation.

I would strongly warn to introduce any form of payment for musical contributions in ConcertHall. This ruins he basic idea, IMHO and may damage future recording projects.
Mirabilis (2015-04-21) Log in to Reply
I have been in IT for a LOT of years. I know what it costs to maintain a website of any size. I have designed and maintained sites – I know.

Firstly, I think what has been discussed is just in the formative stages, except for the "tip jar." Secondly, I understand what it takes to maintain a website. Thirdly, unless properly done, the maintenance and costs can spiral out of control, "way fast." (That is not a slam... from what I have seen, read, and sensed, CCH's maintenance, etc., is being done in a controlled and well-planned manner.)

I see no problem with having a contribution for the site maintenance. Maintenance includes fixes, updates, upgrades,... the whole process. Then, there is the technical aspect. Servers are not cheap; Disk space is relatively inexpensive until you get into the SSD area, but there is the cost of redundancy; Operating software is not inexpensive regardless of whether it is “free” or licensed. Add to all of this, the expertise required to perform all the required functions. This is just the tip of proverbial iceberg.

Maybe try a donation for the site first. If that does not yield enough $$ to cover the costs, a more defined approach would be needed, i.e., a fee. If we all chip in, it will not be rough on any of us.

I applaud the “keepers” of the site. Your efforts and dedication are outstanding. I have personally been down this road. It is not cheap and it is not a trivial task.

I am willing to do my part, when called upon.

Sorry about all the clichés. They just seem to fit.

DarrylLeeWood (2015-04-21) Log in to Reply
We really appreciate your feedback. Between the positive and negative reactions we're getting, It's giving us some of the vibe in the community.

The fact is that, yes, Contrebombarde is becoming a financial drain to maintain and improve. The larger we get as a community, the more demanding it is. Two particular points come to mind, a) we've been having to rewrite the code of the entire site because it worked fine when we only had a couple thousand uploads. At over 16,000 uploads it's starting to really bog down. Compare load times between the Dashboard page and the browse page. Raymond rewrote the dashboard page. It's fast. The Browse page is slow. It's a big undertaking. It still has to be redone. That's just one behind the scenes issue that we're having to deal with. Raymond has been full time at this for 6 months. b) The bigger we get, hosting is going to get expensive. Technically, we should have switched our hosting already. However, we've been fortunate that we haven't had to. The day is coming though and we have to have some reserves in place to make the switch.

While some might think this was a "top-down" decision, please consider a couple of things: we wanted to make any financial aspect of the site as unobtrusive as possible. In fact, for the most part, if we hadn't told you it was there, you might not even have seen it. We have tried to be discrete in the implementation.

We understand and value that Contrebombarde is a place where people can discover organ music and Hauptwerk freely. That's important to us. That's why we have only provided the capacity for people to build a revenue stream that is largely unseen throughout the site. In many ways, we thought it would be another way to expose new people to the site as organists directed outside people to their profile. We thought there might be some serendipity there.

Note that the incentives are not connected to the uploading of music particularly. Incentives are for extra-musical things and the general support of an organist. We do not want to be selling music for legal and copyright reasons.

The other aspect of that program is that we want to succeed by helping others succeed. If you want full out numbers, we keep 20% to cover processing and upkeep. We also thought "how can we encourage other people in this process of our fundraising?". This kind of model has been used in multiple crowdfunding platforms to great effect. Whether or not it thrives here will be apparent soon. However, the capacity is there.

We actually thought that a direct Wikipedia-type appeal for support would be far more intrusive than what we've done. We can certainly do that. At this point, it's easy. We've already done the heavy lifting.

One of the ideas that our beta testers gave us was along the lines of what some of you have said. They wanted us to add a button that committed all of their contributions to Contrebombarde for upkeep. We implemented that immediately.

However, if you would like a straight, donation to the site button, we can add that pretty much immediately as well. We would certainly appreciate the support.

We'll keep the Patron feature, and the ability to advertise yourself as a Teacher, Tech, School etc in the Meet & Greet locator as well for those who wish to use that.

Thanks again for your feedback. We thank you for your interest and we're glad that our work at Contrebombarde means so much to you so far.

How does this resonate with you?
mumblecake (2015-04-21) Log in to Reply
I think the added transparency of actual numbers does definitely help. I personally would like to see such a donate button but would really like to hear other opinions as well. In the end it is no good if something does get or get not implemented just because two or three people were shouting the loudest.

I would really encourage everyone passing by this article to voice your opinions either way. ... Doesn't have to be an essay :)
Pietro (2015-04-21) Edited Log in to Reply
I maintain my doubts about the opportunity of a monetary compensation to our preferred organists. At the same time, I think that some pecuniary support to the site is unavoidable. The idea of a 'donation button' seems good and simple. It would be helpful to have a rough idea of the amount of money annually required for the management and improvement of the site.
DarrylLeeWood (2015-04-21) Log in to Reply
I think that it's our job to create content, services and space for you guys to have a community. Based on our performance, we would welcome donations from users commensurate to the value we provide and to the extent which individual users are able.

If we fail to deliver value, obviously our funding will suffer.

This kind of arrangement will leave us free to pursue the projects, content and maintenance features that we think will improve the user experience without having to openly haggle about details.

In the last 12 months, we've spent a little under $40K on development and hosting. At 2800 users, that works out to about $14 per user per year. However, we're getting a major deal on hosting right now. At some point, that's going to disappear.

The point is that costs are going to change. Next year will be different. Maybe there will be less development and we'll have to switch to spending more on hosting and content development.

So, bottom line, if you like what's going on here chip in an amount that's meaningful for you. We'll do what we can with that.
EdoL (2015-04-21) Log in to Reply
I guess the direct donation button is a good idea.

A site of this volume for a specified user group cannot be maintained for free imho.
It puts the burden onesided on the moderators and technical people, which I think is not fair.

The amount you mention is very reasonable.
As we are spending hundreds on samplesets I guess a regular contribution to the site won't be too much of a strain for most of us.

So I welcome the button!
DarrylLeeWood (2015-04-23) Log in to Reply
Thanks for welcoming the button. It has arrived on the top menu.

We still hope that people, who do not have a website profile outside of Contrebombarde will be able to use CB to be a part of their income strategy. The extent to which we help them do that will add to our operating budget as well.
mumblecake (2015-04-24) Log in to Reply
Just spotted it and had to immediately try it (who doesn't like pressing buttons). Seems to work :)
mumblecake (2015-04-20) Edited Log in to Reply
Is midiworks starting to screw up CCH by top-down decisions which are not supported by the community?

If they had done this after a lengthy discussion of "is that something the community would support" it would have been fair enough but this way ... ? There is also no information about how much of the money pledged is actually going to the musician (I hate the word artist ... Picasso was an artist. 99.99% here and everywhere else are mere mortals. It goes w/o saying that that includes me). No information about how much is collected as administration fee!

I'm just putting it out here (and I'm not qualified to lead an initiative like this): should we start thinking about a community lead alternative to CCH?
CBadmin (2015-04-20) Log in to Reply
Hello mumblecake! Thank you for your comment.

This article was a brief explanation of the feature. If you clicked on the link below the video, you can see exactly how the transactions and fees work. It is listed for anyone to read before activating this feature. We wouldn't want anyone to sign up without knowing the breakdown!

In terms of support, we have been receiving a mixed view from the community. Some think it's a great idea, and some don't. We decided to create this 'virtual tip jar' for those that liked the idea.

We did not forget those that where against it also. Under no circumstances is anyone forced to sign up or donate. You still get all the regular content in CCH free with the least amount of intrusions.

As the site is increasing in traffic and server space, the costs of improving/maintaining it is mounting. However rather than charge or get donations for it, we thought a feature like this would not only benefit us, but more importantly those that perform and upload the splendid pieces you hear today. Of course they do it for the love and not for any monetary reasons. We wanted to offer a way for listeners who wanted to do more than just comment to be able to do so.

This feature is still in it's testing stages, and is being closely monitored. Rest assured that any necessary changes will be implemented.

Once again thank you for your comment! We welcome any other questions and concerns you may have.
mumblecake (2015-04-21) Log in to Reply
Hi Raymond,

thank you for your reply.I bet that the maintenance costs are rising. Partly due to the community growing which is great. I've talked to quite a few organists who weren't even aware that something like Hauptwerk exists. And in particular as you are constantly enhancing the website with new features.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm eternally grateful that the CCH exists. Without it I wouldn't have made the decision to finally fulfill my childhood dream of starting to learn this beautiful instrument.

I have watched the video and the video is not going into detail of how much of the money pledged is actually being kept by midiworks (just watched it again to make sure I haven't just missed it).

But yes, I am worried that this is only but a test to to see how the community would react to an increasing commercialization of CCH. I am worried that more is going to follow. So I rather shout out a decisive 'NO' while it still makes sense to do so.

You would have had my full support and probably the support of many more if you had started a donation scheme similar to the one of wikipedia.

BR Mathis
EdoL (2015-04-21) Log in to Reply
I second that!
EdoL (2015-04-19) Log in to Reply
I agree with Pietro.
I consider the site a place where lovers of organ music can meet and post indiscriminately. I very much want the site to stay the place where friends and collegues can meet without a monetary incentive.

Speaking for myself: i'd rather have people react, positively or otherwise, to my postings than receiving money. That is one of the charming sides of CCH.
I'm here for the fun of it, not for business.
And whenever money takes over, it seems to foul up things and intentions.

So, even if I was pledged to, I would not dream of accepting money.

Only my opinion, ofcourse....

PLRT (2015-04-19) Log in to Reply
"Only my opinion, ofcourse…."
No, it's mine too :-)
CBadmin (2015-04-20) Log in to Reply
Thank you Edol for your comment!

We fully understand where you are coming from. Think more of the feature as a 'tip jar'. If someone likes a piece, and want to donate, they can. Goodies are a way for users to say 'thank you'.

Of course there are others who share your opinion. For that reason using the feature and pledging are totally voluntary. You need to activate the patron feature in order to receive pledges. This way users who do not agree with this feature can choose not to use it, while those that do can.

We hear what you have stated in your comment, and are monitoring the results. Again, any changes that need to be made will be.

Thank you for your time!
Pietro (2015-04-18) Log in to Reply
I have some doubts about the opportunity of giving an amount of money to some of our preferred organists. It is true that professional musicians are not enough compensated. We must however keep in mind that both professional and amateur musicians happily cooperate to our Concert Hall until this moment. It would be bizarre to give some monetary rewards to a hobbyist; and it would be unpleasant and formalistic to draw up a ‘list’ of professionals and amateurs. In my opinion, the contribution to the Concert Hall should remain unpaid and equal for all. Rather, it would be reasonable and advisable to give a monetary contribution (on a voluntary basis) to the administration and improvement of the website.
CBadmin (2015-04-18) Edited Log in to Reply
Thank you for your comment Pietro!

We appreciate your concern. We at Contrebombarde see the feature as a way for users to show appreciation and support an organist, regardless of level. We are not trying to draw a divide between hobbyists, amateurs, and professionals. Rather, we are aiming to help all organist with this feature regardless of skill and experience.

We also had the idea of voluntary contribution, but decided we wanted to help the many users that upload pieces to the site.

We are keeping your opinion in mind and will of course make changes if necessary.
BaroqueDMX (2015-04-21) Log in to Reply
I agree with Pietro's remarks.
petervdzwaag (2015-04-17) Log in to Reply
I'm getting some PHP errors setting up my profile...
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