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MMD > Archives > May 1997 > 1997.05.11 > 16Prev  Next

Membership Fee
By John A. Tuttle

Dear Readers,

The following is my opinion of Jody's request for financial support of
the Mechanical Music Digest through personal monetary gifts. There are
lots of other ways to support the financial needs of the Digest and I
hope that other subscribers will voice their opinions so that the
future of the Digest will be insured.

You may recall that a few months ago I suggested that the Digest charge
a small Membership Fee to improve services and expand it's scope of
operation. I, for one, am pleased to see that it has become necessary
to ask subscribers for money. However, I am vehemently opposed to
soliciting uncontrolled financial support for an organization that
provides an important service which helps promote my business, increases
my knowledge of the trade, allows me to freely exchange ideas and
procedures with other professionals and novices and is painstakingly
edited and compiled. Why should I make such an apparently contradictory
statement? The answer is relatively simple.

Asking for this type of support is dangerous for a number of reasons.
The most obvious reason is favoritism. Now I don't want to get off on
a rant here, but just consider for a moment the possible psychological
effect that a check for $500.00 would have on our 'leaders' as opposed
to a check for $5.00. I think we're all smart enough to realize that
it MAY have some influence in future dealings. Please don't get all
pumped up here. I'm not making any accusations or pointing any fingers.
What I'm saying is, it opens a door that may be very difficult to close.

Secondly, no matter how hard Jody tries to mask the request, it comes
out charity. He's putting out his hand and asking for money.  This
effectively reduces his position to one of an almsman or mendicant.
Here again, don't get your feathers in a ruffle.  This all comes to a
very logical conclusion if you're patient enough to read through and
attempt to comprehend the intent of this entire letter.

Lastly, this type of support requires that we (the readers) look deep
inside ourselves and make a financial decision based on our interpretation
of the value of the Digest. To some people it will be a small matter and
therefore not of much value. To others, it will be a big thing and they
will search their soul in an effort to decide what amount of money is
appropriate verses what they can afford to give. In both cases, a value
judgment has to be made which adds a little or a lot more pressure to
our already complex and pressure filled lives.

In conclusion, all of the above can easily be avoided by simply instituting
a Membership Fee. The advantages and reasonability of a Membership Fee
are fairly obvious. First, it treats everyone equally. Second, it reduces
the 'thinking process' to one question: Is the Digest worth the Membership
Fee. Third, it controls the general growth of the business to meet the
needs and desires of the readership while providing a stable revenue base
for the maintenance of equipment and outside services.

In closing, I realize that I have not addressed numerous other aspects
of this situation. I have attempted to be as plain as possible without
being prejudicial to any person or group. With deeper analysis, the pros
and cons can be greatly expanded but, I'm certain that bringing money
into the MMD equation will have a decided effect. Whether it is good or
bad will be discovered in due time. I am, therefore, asking you, Jody,
to reconsider my idea. I suggest a $15.00/yr. Membership Fee. That's
less than $0.29/week. My check is already in the mail. (At $15.00/person,
that's over $8000/yr.)

John A. Tuttle

P.S. Jody, please accept my personal apology for using the words
mendicant and almsman which might be interpreted as derogatory or even
insulting to your good name. They are only used to point out an extremist
(not extremists') viewpoint regarding the type of solicitation you have
requested and should not be misconstrued as my attitude towards you. I
have great admiration for you and will continue to support you and your
publication in whatever way I can.  You are an outstanding human being
and you should not feel it necessary to ask for help but rather you should
demand reasonable recompense in the form of a fee for the services you,
your family and friends provide.

(Message sent Fri 2 May 1997, 18:19:11 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Fee, Membership

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