First and foremost, thank you. In just over three years of CDM — and roughly five thousand stories on Create Digital Music and Create Digital Motion — you have blown me away. You’ve shared countless news tips, ideas, discussion, projects, art and music, and helped create a unique spot on the Web. That success allows us to deliver hundreds of thousands of views each month, and more importantly, has helped CDM be recognized beyond even musicians and visualists as a leading resource for creative technology. That’s really your success: the ideas you’ve given us, and your work in spreading this stuff to everyone else.

Three years is often the point where people experience some fatigue, but we’re feeling quite the opposite. We want to do more than we’ve done in the past. But we need your help.

CDM Costs, and a New Ad Policy

Running CDM costs money. At the beginning of 2007, after a horrible period of site outages that nearly caused me to shut down CDM permanently, we made the move to a dedicated server, because in hosting, you tend to get what you pay for. That server, bandwidth, and other direct costs of the site have cost me thousands of dollars — nearly all of which I’ve paid out of pocket. More importantly, CDM requires an enormous investment of time, much of it behind the scenes administering the site — and to do what we want to do on CDM, it’s going to take more time.

We are tuning our advertising and affiliate models, and we have some other income ideas we’re developing. But we also know we want our ad model to be different, because it needs to fit CDM. We’ve decided that, beyond Google Ads, any direct ads we take on CDM will be considered an endorsement. That means we need to believe in — and personally use — anything we advertise. We want to remain content-driven rather than ad-driven. If you think you would like to partner with us, do contact us, as we have some affordable schemes for providing ads that are useful to readers — just be aware we do things a little differently. We are serious about advertising — but we’re serious about keeping it in the spirit of the site, as we move forward.

And doing things differently means we can’t continue to survive without some reader support.

Real Reader-Supported Content

I want to do better than simply asking for your support, though. I want to make a promise: support CDM, and we’ll turn that support into content. We want to do more on CDM than we’ve done in the past. We want 2008 to be a breakthrough year for the site, and we’ve got a lot of ideas. We will absolutely make it clear that CDM is publishing some reader-supported stories, and we’d love to hear what you’d like that to be. Got ideas for the kind of videos or articles you’d want to see? Let us know in comments here, or on the CDM Forums.

Donating just a few dollars will make a difference.

I also have ten copies of my book Real World Digital Audio, a near-600-page guide to making music on computers, which I can ship to the first ten people to donate over US$50 (which is actually the book’s list price). If you want the book, don’t forget your address and specify an amount of $50.00 or greater.

I know a lot of you are on a tight budget as we are. But we really do appreciate your support — and with your help, CDM can be an even better free online resource in the future.

Pay what you can, pay what you want. Thanks for your support, and thanks for reading.

  • Donated. I find this site to be a great resource, and is defiantly the CNN of digital music for me. It would be great to have a subscription feature, where I can pay a little every month to keep the site going.

  • dead_red_eyes

    I'll be happy to donate, once my damn tax return gets here. The wait is killing me!!!

  • I've been wanting to get this book for a while and you just gave me a great excuse. If it wasn't for this site, I'd be a much more boring, less excited musician. I'd have no Monome, I wouldn't have been interested in or found out about ITP @ NYU (which I'm hoping to get into for the fall). I love the entire CDM neighborhood. Thanks for all you've done Peter.

  • I might also suggest a web-only music release, made up of CDM reader's music. I'd be happy to contribute, and I may have a source for hosting/shopping carting the whole thing.

    recompas at gmail dot com

  • dead_red_eyes

    Great idea recompas.

  • When i get paid i will contribute for definate. This is the only site i check every day religiously as all the articles are interesting.

    Keep up the good work pete, mike et all.


  • flip

    Hey Peter… Paypal is not being my "pal" right now: It's making me jump through a million hoops to send cash. One being that it needs to confirm my phone number which HAS TO BE A LAND LINE! Great. I haven't used a landline in 4 years. Lame!

    So, please give a snail mail address & I'll send a check. 🙂

  • apalomba

    I donated too. I don't know where I would get my audio news if there were no CDM.

  • Tommy Walker

    yeah recompas great idea. thats one way I can definitley contribute and would love to. paypal donation coming your way on pay day.

  • vvvoid

    Don't know about your future with ads.. ffox does a great job of completely nuking them, and hopefully people are catching on. sooner or later, we hope, advertising on the net will become a pointless anachronism.

  • Long time lurker, first time donator here.

    Great site, keep it going….it's seriously the best for digital inspiration

    (can't believe I just said that, 'digital inspiration'… sheez)

  • pk, on the daily – you undeniably add value and help sculpt the industry. i'd gladly participate in a reader contributed compilation

    long live cdm: an invaluable resource & my (not so secret) obsession

  • daniel

    Include ads by the major companies. It is ok with that. The site is now the best source for info on new stuff. Get paid and make the site pro. Same hours of work and better results. For the readers it will be even better.

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  • Rozling

    Without CDM my internets would not be the same. This is the only site out there that has been consistently on my wavelength – I find almost every story completely engaging and have lost count of the amount of cool stuff I've found and use where the trail leads back to Create Digital Music.

    I also really like the sense of community here both implied from the stories and as evident from the forum & comments – you get some real heavy-hitters dropping by from time to time, and it's cool to think they get the same kicks out of CDM.

    I own Peter's book already and highly recommend it to anyone starting out in recording or looking for a refresher – the content is as well-explained and thorough as the writing on here and the little tips and random bits of info make it very readable & useful. Sounds like a good time to get it!

    I'm flat broke at the moment but will give something back to CDM when I get paid this month for certain. I'm looking forward to contributing in every way I can 🙂 although it might be easier to get people to pay not to hear my music…

    Cheers Peter!

  • Downpressor

    Alot of stories here lately are not in my interest but overall I appreciate the site and have enjoyed its growth.

    I have no problem with general ads that are actually related to the topic of the site, not just Google text ads. I do not use ad blockers because I recognize that without ad revenue many sites would simply have to fold. Also I do click ads that are relevant to me.

    I wont donate however because I dont believe in the begging bowl business model. Same reason I never busked and wont put up a paypal donate for my music button on the web. Unfortunately I think that by putting up a donate button you encourage more free riders who assume someone else will pay.

  • A big thank you to everyone for your support and kind words here … and glad to hear some discussion / debate over how we model this. We'll keep that discussion out there, for sure. I will say, anyone who has a problem with the "passing the hat" approach — totally your choice; I respect that, and as I said, we're not going to rely on that entirely. (Even public TV / public radio has a combination of revenue sources. That's just how these things work.) So we're not ruling out advertising.

    It's a totally separate world (gaming rather than music tech), but Jaymis and I have talked a lot about the Penny Arcade philosophy:

    Like music, gaming *is* about getting enjoyment out of someone else's technological creation, and there is a sense in that world, too, that people want some different voices.

    Downpressor — or anyone else — any particular stories that make you say "naw, pass"?

    Ad blockers — well, not much we can do there, as it's again your choice. My assumption is, if you're using an ad blocker, you're not interested in ads, meaning you ultimately save the advertiser some money. I personally run them because I'd rather expose myself to some advertising and keep stuff free.

    But, truly, I'm moved by those of you who did reach into your wallets, partly because I respect that not everyone will do that. I think it's an extraordinary gesture and I take it really seriously.

  • audiodestruction

    This site is the first site I check every day. Before my school email, before the all evil myspace or facebook, createdigitalmusic is my days first priority. I will gladly donate 10% of any money made with my music to this site. I dont want to get anybody too excited, I am not signed or anything, but I feel without this site, that money would not be there anyways. Also I think the strong community at esty and other DIY sites could get together and create digital music could get into selling gear related goods. I myself make 1" buttons and will be willing to donate some. I think the community is strong enough to make this something even bigger than it is.

  • make sure to put the paypal donate in the sidebar too…

  • kibibu

    Also, don't be afraid to puts ads in the RSS feed! At the moment I actually don't see any of your ads.

  • You are paying too much for hosting.

    I can resell you hosting for under 50 bucks.

    It is run by

    Its on a cluster and can stand up to any digg or slashdot effect.

    Best of all the support is great since everyone is on the same system you don't have to be the first to complain to get anything fixed..

    I have all my sites there. Top notch. Hate to see you wasting money.

  • bw

    how about a complete moratorium on all paper models of synthesizers, no matter how cute? until you can promise that, you won't get any $ from me. (& i swear – no – i swear TO GOD i will donate if you can make this promise a reality.) how do you "create digital music" w/ a paper model anyway? how can i be sure your fundrasing will not spur the growth of ""? furthermore, how come most of what's really awesome on your site is about creating music w/ analog instruments? my favorite thing about this site is the link to Matrixsynth. 🙂 i hope all the $ you raise makes this site better.

  • @bw: This week *is*, unfortunately, the fundraiser. But next week we can have the CDM Roast: trolling encouraged.

  • Downpressor

    Not too sure PBS is the right analogy. Also they are clear and up front about where there support comes from be it corporate sponsorship of content production or donation drives. Someone told me they do ads now in some places but I been out of the US a long time so I dont know.

    With the web having a mix can be odd especially if the publisher claims editorial independence. Cant really say the new Korg thingamajig is riddled with problems if they are sponsoring the site overall and I rather doubt any of the manufacturers would sponsor individual segments on the web (this program brought to you in part by Yamaha, PBS style) since the content segments on the web are rather small. Could be wrong about that.

    BoingBoing is currently doing some stuff with Windows Mobile and Honda sponsoring certain stuff. Lots of readers dont seem to like it but its worth watching that as a business model.

    One other possible issue here is the large focus on DIY stuff which might make the site seem unattractive to ads from general gear shops like sweetwater or musicians fiend. OTOH even most students and DIY people still need to buy mixers and basic stuff so maybe they would buy ads.

  • Little Pig

    flip > I feel for you! I had those problems with Paypal. Took me 4 weeks to get it sorted. Best of luck.

  • dead_red_eyes

    Downpressor, those people freaking out on Boing Boing about the Windows Mobile thing are a bunch of crybabies. People have to pay for these sites out of their own pockets. Most of these people work day jobs as well. Advertising pays the bills. Those people that get all bent out of shape about a Windows Mobile post … can't they see the fucking ads already posted ALL OVER Boing Boing? On top, to the right side, EVERYWHERE. People are making a huge fuss over nothing. If they don't want advertising then they should rightfully donate/pay to the site … and if they don't want to do that, then they shouldn't bitch about "a free meal". Sites like Boing Boing with thousands and thousands of readers don't magically pay for themselves.

    There are many magazines out there that have no advertising in them, and so the cost of said magazine is usually anywhere from $10-20. Expensive … but worth the extra cost for some people that don't like ads. Without charging extra, those magazines wouldn't survive.

  • I can speak to the ad issue — relevant, especially, as we do still expect some advertiser and sponsor support in the future.

    I think it ultimately comes down to two issues: one is editorial responsibility, and the other is scope.

    Scope is a tricky issue. By being involved in a fully ad-supported model, you do need to have a content focus that can be supported by advertising. Boing Boing et al have found a way out of this by essentially advertising brands rather than specific products. But it is tough, and I think it does drive a lot of music technology coverage toward this endless parade of hardware and software. To whatever extent that parade interests you, great, and that goes for CDM, too. But for me, at least, at some point I don't want to use five DAWs and five hundred plug-ins; I want to actually finish something, or build my own tool for a job if appropriate.

    The other issue, which is the one most people focus on, is editorial responsibility. There's nothing magical about taking ads that forces you to say what the advertiser wants. In fact, an ad-less blog could just as easily get intimidated by a developer into censoring an opinion. You do need to make sure you can afford to *lose* an advertiser, of course, or you'll be in a nasty spot. But, you know, ultimately it's a choice.

    Here's the top search hit for Boing Boing and Windows Mobile, by my friend Joel Johnson:

    "Too bad Windows Mobile is an operating system without a direction, sailing haphazardly toward the land of Turd."

    Like I said. It's about choice — the writer, and the editors to support them. And the advertisers — Microsoft is smart enough to keep advertising while Joel says that, because they get that it's *more* valuable than the site that glosses over their marketing statement. Call it tough love.

    CDM is not PBS — we could go that direction, and certainly regardless we'll be transparent about where our funding comes from. But we are trying to build a model that supports readers. I can say, our efforts to do that are hugely helped by this support. I'll absolutely do my best to make sure you get your money's worth.

  • in this beginning of 2k8 many of the forums and the blogs that I usually read are gone "commercial"…with google ads and banners.

    this is the only one that did a declaration of intents about responsability…and I really like that…tnx Peter, you show us on which side your heart beats…I will happily donate asap (waiting for my cheque)…and I am up for a subscription.

    thanks again for your exellent job.

  • fleabitn

    When you put adverts up, make sure they are of the most annoying, winking, blinking, shapeshifting strobing abominations you can find. Because every time I sit down to read a book, I like to set up my easy chair right next to my strobe light cuz we all know how much better this is for your eyes and concentration. Seriously, please stick to flat, still ads. The presence of strobing adverts in one's eyespace has driven me away from more sites than I can count.

  • Sam

    Peter- How many of the books are left? I am donating regardless but have been wanting that book for awhile.

    Love these websites, thanks alot.

  • Tim Hanlon

    Peter – did you get my e-mail from the contact form? Instead of a confirmation message I got bounced back to the home page.

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  • @Downpressor: Boing Boing is represented by Federated Media and pulls in a seven figure income as one of the largest blogs on the web. On the other hand, CDM writes in-depth posts about a niche topic. Honda isn't likely to drop tens of thousands of dollars for a vapid "driving force behind your music" ad campaign on a music technology blog. They're clever enough to know that electromusicians are more likely to spend their hard-earned money on a roomful of noisy digital gadgets than a shiny new car.

    And, unlike Boing Boing, Peter can't get away with writing two line posts that link to amusing videos or weird happenings around the web. CDM contributors actually have to take the time to generate meaningful content in the hope that others will link to it.

    Considering the breadth and depth of content (and the distinct lack of in-your-face ads), the CDM gang has done a fantastic job over the past three years and they're improving with time. This site is certainly worth donating to – if you can't afford a few bucks, there are also countless opportunities to write for CDM (as I've done from time to time) or to spread the word (which I do every chance I get).

  • Peter, your site is top notch. I'd be lost without CDM. I put a post up on Matrixsynth on your Flash post and added a big blurb on your fund raiser. Not to diss my site, but CDM is a professional publication that would be sorely missed. I just post what I come across on a daily basis. Best of luck.



  • Downpressor

    James Grahame,

    I'm clear on the differences between the sites. I pointed out BB as an example of a blog site which has recently had some user issues with introducing certain types of ads, not as a direct comparison.

    I like this site a lot, have read it for a long time and would support advertisers here with my hard earned Yen.

  • Make it go pro. Get ads and sponsors. Pro site, better site, make a living out of it. It is a great resource for all the visitors. Sharing efforts for free makes you a slave of your success. Share your knowledge and time in a way that it makes sense.

  • Our band has just finished its latest CD and instead of pressing it on a CD we released it on a flash drive direct

    We were really stoked with the results and wondered if anyone else had anything to say about this. It seems we cannot find enough fans at the gigs to buy a CD but were willing to shell out $15 bucks for a 1 GB…has anyone else found this to work for them?

    I read this release
    and it convinced me if the labels are dropping the CD perhaps this was the next thing…?

    anyways……..drop me a line….


  • just done my contribute;

    thanks to everybody!