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.