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Songwriters in Seattle Message Board › Opportunities for 2013

Opportunities for 2013

A former member
Post #: 1
Hi there Chris - I've only been lurking for a little while after becoming aware of SIS. I haven't been able to participate in any SIS events yet for the simple reason that I've got a full schedule already, but sooner or later I'm bound to make time.

That being said - and in response to your suggestion about hosting our own events - I host an open mic with Steve Beck in the Kent area every second Sunday of the month that has been up and running for over a year now and is still going strong. I'd be more than happy to discuss folding it under the SIS umbrella if there is any interest.

Keep up the good work,

Lou G.
user 25827652
Seattle, WA
Post #: 2
I just wanted to add that by the time I received notice of a Showcase, it's already been filled. I asked around and no one seemed to know exactly how to get on a 'waiting list' for a a showcase. I'd appreciate getting some information about that. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a list of upcoming showcases at various venues and be able to sign up for them in advance ? Or should I just organize my own showcase ? I'd appreciate some suggestions. Thanks, Lou
Chris K.
Group Organizer
Kirkland, WA
Post #: 41
Hi Lou,

It's actually quite simple to sign up for a spot on a showcase:

1. Go to our calendar:­ also linked in the left column of the Meetup site.
2. Find a showcase event date and venue that you like - most venues are booked out a couple months, so starting there might save you a bit of time.
3. If the event description has a note "Update - the roster for this showcase is full..." click your back button and find the next date/venue that you might like.
4. When you find one that is not full, simply write an e-mail request for that date and venue to songwritersinseattle[at]gmail[dot]com.
5. I'll confirm you for an open slot or suggest an alternate if there's any kind of scheduling issue to work out.

A simplified version of these instructions is listed at the bottom of every showcase event description, so you won't even have to memorize the e-mail address!

R. A. C.
user 9405209
Seattle, WA
Post #: 7
Hey Fluffy,

I COMPLETELY agree with you. I've been a member of SiS for well, quite a while now and it is extremely difficult to navigate and find the events that I want to participate or be a part of in an efficient manner. While meetup is great for a group with fewer than 5 events in a month, SiS has several meetups each month and schedules out in advance. I myself, prefer to schedule several weeks and months in advance, but find that I am unable to navigate through Meetup efficiently to sign up for what I want to participate in. AND if I want to be on a showcase, I'm unclear as to who to contact. Do I contact the showcase host or do I contact someone else? Having hosted, I know the answer to these questions, but when I received several emails that indicated confusion of how to sign up from different people, there perhaps is a communication error. Many times I've seen something that I'd love to sign up for or be a part of and the roster is full because it rolls up a few days in advance because Meetup does not tell you when an event is added, but when it's going to happen a few days ahead of time.

Kimberly, while I agree with you that someone should take time to get to know an organization, Meetup is not user friendly for getting to know an organization. Is there a SiS site? I believe there is, but nothing points to it, and you only get a small taste of what SiS is when you visit it. It can become tedious to sift through the not so web friendly site of Meetup to find an organizations activities and how to sign up to be a part of them. I have to side with Fluffy on this one.

Basically, Meetup isn't 'our' site, it's owned by the people who run meetup, and we utilize it. SiS needs their own website that is conducive to being organized, and post maybe highlights here on meetup rather than the whole shebang.

AND I agree with Casey, River People Casey Anderson. He's a fantastic guitarist, go check out his stuff on reverbnation! But there's a disconnect with how many people are actually attending and how many have clicked on joining a meetup group. I confess, I've clicked on four other meetup groups that I belong to and am not really active with or just peruse their few meetups a month, but they aren't organizations, they are small groups of people who have a common interest and get together to play with their dogs or perform in a space once in a while. Sis has over 800 people who have clicked the 'join' button. While it's nice to have so many people who are interested in SiS, it'd be nicer if they came out and participated, but perhaps what Fluffy and Casey are voicing might be the key to why people are not participating. If there was a page on SiS that listed the members according to the last time they logged into the site and updated their information or commented on BBs on the site, that would be helpful to musicians looking for other musicians. I am also looking for other musicians, but have a difficult time figuring out where to go to find them. While the monthly group meeting is great, it's not really much more than a giant public song circle and not really conducive to networking when it's packed (because of the allowance for everyone to share a song that wants to) or if there's a handful of people, it's more or less just sharing tunes. There's not really 'mingle' time before or after since it's takes up the entire time.

Maybe there needs to be some restructuring with SiS in the way information is communicated, because you have people complaining, and I believe not without merit.
Chris K.
Group Organizer
Kirkland, WA
Post #: 42
Thank you for your thoughts, Rebekah. The complaints are heard, and I understand that they have merit - that is not in question here. The question is: who will step up to help do something about it? SiS is an infrastructure, not a service. Volunteers contribute what time and effort they can as they believe there is something in that infrastructure that is good for both our music community and themselves. As I've always said, you get out of this what you put into it. That hasn't ever changed.

I could just as easily go point by point through every complaint here and counter as to what already exists (sometimes just a single click away) that actually tries to manage that problem. Or explain again how to sign up for showcases easily, as I've done repeatedly, both on a personal and public basis many times over the years and the contact info is noted in the description of every single showcase event...but the bottom line is most people don't put anything into it. They don't read or they turn off e-mail notifications, they don't come to events often enough to actually bond with others and get to a real understanding of how the group works. They don't actually explore the Meetup site (which has a "members" button which shows who's recently logged on, "our calendar" which gives you an easy overview of all events, "about us" with our website clearly linked, or even the Facebook, Twitter, and website buttons in the left column directly under the calendar link, etc.), they don't connect on Facebook or Twitter, where additional information and reminders are often communicated...They don't try - and then they wonder why they're not getting anything out of it or why it's not working the way they think it should.

So yes, I get it and there are plenty of areas where we could do a better job. Those of us who continue to put time into it will explore how we can get the most bang for our buck/effort in helping solve those issues. But members who believe there is something here which could be of benefit to them and the community need to take some responsibility for the group's success. Be a positive influence, make some things happen, contribute. We have had 4-5 "leaders" ever since there were about 300 members and it's clearly not enough to meet the current demand. We have quite literally hit a ceiling - via the Meetup site stats it shows we can keep about 200 max interested. As membership has gone up past 850, that active member number has hovered in the exact same area just shy of 200 for almost a year - it's very telling to me with regard to how well we are able to engage people at our current operational level. BTW, the Meetup site is awesome because it automatically manages much of what we are trying to do. Our website cannot possibly get to that level of functionality without a massive effort - we can't even keep it up to date as it is.

I remain committed here because I believe in what SiS has to offer, believe it can be bigger than just a standard Meetup (thus all the extra non-profit org management I've taken on), and I do what I can to keep it moving in a positive direction. Will you help?
Lou G.
user 25827652
Seattle, WA
Post #: 3
Chris, I think you are absolutely correct. I am grateful that there are folks like you, Dave and others that volunteer their services to create a community where we can share our musical ideas and find others who may have similar goals. I've met some real nice and talented people on this site but now that I look back, I could have been more proactive and donated more effort and time as well. You gave me a good wake up call and I will take that to heart. Thanks also for selecting my song "Feeling's Gone" for the SiS compilation CD. All the best, Lou
Katy K.
user 67917232
Seattle, WA
Post #: 1's entirely possible that I have a doppelganger (however it may be spelled) who is writing stuff on my behalf. But, here's the real me. My real opinion follows:

1. SIS is cool..... it makes folks think and it has value in communicating the fact that songwriters have a common stream in that we want to be part of a whole.

2. I respect Chris and company for going out on a limb and expressing some skin in the's not easy dealing with artists (sigh....i know).

3. Maybe it's time to ramp up and look for community investment......SIS is a 501-c3 so why not get some buy in from Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs (long name for Seattle arts commission) and others to pitch in toward advancement....capacity building efforts. Fiy, they will say "" for perhaps a decade but give it a shot eh?

3. Talk to local and regional festivals for a sponsored stage---NW folklife, bumbershoot, and uber tons of others.

xo and more from kk
R. A. C.
user 9405209
Seattle, WA
Post #: 8

You know that I think you've done an amazing job with SiS, but a lot of SiS seems to rest on your shoulders alone, and there's only so much one person can do. And for one person, you do a lot.

You need to let the people who run the showcases, schedule the performers for each showcase. While I understand you feel it's more efficient for people to go to one person ie you, for someone who's wanting to sign up, it's natural for them to go to the person in charge of each showcase. If the people hosting are not running it, where's the value for the host? There's no skills involved except being timely. If the hosts know the artists and talk with them way in advance through email and have a running dialogue, it'll be a better showcase for viewers, because those people have met and gotten to know each other and each other's music. If you don't trust your hosts to make those decisions, then why are they hosts?

1: You need to delegate more responsibilities, and I know you care about the group, but other people who are involved would like to be involved too on a leadership level, even without a 'leaders' title, BECAUSE THEY CARE ABOUT THE GROUP. It's not about who's a leader but community. Think of community like family. If one of your kids has a good idea, do you let them plan out how that idea should happen or do you take over and do everything for your kids? If they did, would that automatically make their title shift to Dad? If an adult in this group has a good idea, do you let that adult run with that idea under the SiS umbrella, or do you shy away from it because *you* don't have time for it?

2: While meetup is more or less a 'free' site, sometimes you have to make changes for more people to be involved. That involves change(s). While changes can be and tend to be scary, as long as you delegate responsibilities to people those changes will happen in a natural and organic fashion. While it can be daunting to fund changes it's not terrible to ask people a small fee that grants membership. If it's need to pay for a site that costs around 1000 a year and you have 200 active members, it would be necessary to ask $5 membership fee just to run a site that has a calendar tab, sign up sheets, and a completely user friendly interface. I would pay $10 a year if I got a card, it helped run the site and a portion of it would go to one or more 'community pa' for SiS showcases.

I know you love meetup, but it's really not that great of a site. It takes several hours to poke around on it. Most people do not have time to learn all the ins and outs of meetup. Most people have a day job, and if they are a songwriter, they write songs, then they interact with people and have only one to two hours to surf on the web. Most of which will be on facebook, twitter, and meetup is going to be at the end of that list. While I understand all the ins and outs of meetup, and know how to search, but I hear the same thing from people over and over again, which means there's a break in the gravy train. You said yourself meetup is not meant for groups over 200, look when the designers say, hey this car only seats 5, but you insist that you can fit 12 people inside, it becomes a circus. Nobody knows what's going on, there's too many events and you might as well wear a red nose and big shoes if you are going to insist that meetup can handle the numbers of people wanting to be involved.

3: Quality will not suffer. I know that this what you are ultimately worried about, because of the time you spend. No one who puts this much time into a non profit volunteer position, is interested in putting out a half assed product. The wonderful thing about SiS is there is a lot of talent in all aspects of SiS. People of all levels of songwriting can get involved, which means people just learning how to compose lyrics and melody to people who've been writing for 20 years like John Apolis, and everyone inbetween. The beautiful thing is that all of these people want to grow, they want to support each other and they want to support other songwriters. The value of this organization is not necessarily the products, but what the community brings to each other. A support system of encouragement, caring, and ultimately helping each other grow as people. That's where the value is. Beautiful songs are a by product of life, as long as these people are living and supporting each other as friends holding to a common thread, a love for music, the quality isn't just in great songs, but a great community.

4. Volunteers will make themselves available if they feel they are a part of the community. See 1, 2 and 3. There may be people who are pushy, obnoxious, overbearing, passionate, excitable, bizarre, creepy, weird, interesting, quiet, of all shapes and sizes in personality and the box they come in that want to participate and lead.

Let them.

Encourage people who are interested in SiS that are a part of the R&B community to host a quarterly R&B workshop or networking event, or Rap, or Rock, or Spoken Word, or Jazz.

Identify what SiS needs in terms of growth and ask if someone would like to spearhead that growth area, and let them explore it, delegate to their friends, and take it where it goes. I know, it may not be exactly your vision, but that's the great thing about community, it tends to shape itself around the people involved rather than making the people conform to an ideal.
Chris K.
Group Organizer
Kirkland, WA
Post #: 43
I'm not sure how you have gotten this impression, Rebekah, but you have greatly, greatly underestimated my desire to delegate and let others take the lead in growing SiS to new heights. You write as if I have some type of iron grip on the organization. There are many people who are helping in their own way (some with significant responsibilities), many without official leadership roles, and I want nothing more than for others to do the same. People come to me with ideas all the time and if they are willing to take action, I let them run - if not, I do what I can with the time I have (I implemented Fluffy's idea, BTW, of adding [ROSTER FULL] in the titles of showcase a tiny example). I'd love to have you tell me any example over the years of where someone has offered to help where I have turned them away. Or where I have not encouraged people to join and help and take more responsibility in building the community through our established infrastructure. I don't know how to say it any more clearly: I would love to have more people take action within the organization! I don't think that's a new statement from me, but if I haven't said it loud enough, I'll take the advisement to continue to repeat it.

A few showcase hosts have asked to book their own nights and I've let them and that hasn't lasted long. It's not a common request, I assure you - I don't think that's what most people feel is the fun part of hosting. Has nothing to do with trust or that I think it's efficient for me to do it or anything else. It's a favor I do so people can have a nice performance opportunity. There's really nothing more to it from my side, though I'm sure the hosts themselves might give you some different reasons they like to host.

I know you care about the music community - I would invite you to come to one of our leaders meetings rather than just talking to our mutual friends about how I/we work (PM me for more info). Or maybe we just meet for coffee sometime to chat. I don't actually think you understand SiS, its history, and how it is run as much as you think you do. You certainly don't understand my attitude or approach toward it ("I know you love Meetup..." is a laughable statement!). I don't even know what ideal you are referring to that people would be conforming to...SiS is nothing if not a community shaped around the people involved. We are exactly what you describe you would like to see from a high level, but you don't have a full grasp of the challenges involved in tackling the specific issues you describe.

Thanks again for your extensive thoughts.
R. A. C.
user 9405209
Seattle, WA
Post #: 9

There was no malice or personal attack intended, on my end it's just candidly sharing my thoughts as I've seen over the past four years of being a member. We see each other socially quite a bit, Raymond's CD release party being the most recent.

I've been a member since the meetings in the Alibi room, and like I said, you have done amazing things for SiS. I don't know if I could praise you enough for the work and time and dedication you have put into SiS.

I've been a co-host for one of the showcases for a year, attended a few song writing critiques, song writing workshops, and attended as a viewer to several showcases as well have been a performer. Just because I don't check in on meetup, doesn't mean I haven't been there.

Thank you very much for the invitation to be a part of the leadership meeting. As much as I'd like to be involved in the leadership meetings, at this time I have opportunities that better suit my skills in the community as a whole that happen to be outside of SiS. However, I still consider myself a member because I like to see what's going on, and communicate with the people inside SiS because I can extend those opportunities to people within SiS. Which those opportunites will be extended to yourself as well.

Thank you for the open dialogue. :)
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