Hi Brian, my two cents for what it's worth.

First off, JPF IS the great leveller and accessible at any time. It is the ultimate "customer pull" market for musicians wanting to share their craft with others in the business. The same cannot be said for getting people together in the same room. Here schedules and priorities conflict, "dedication" to the craft and growth differs, talent differs, available alternatives differ etc. Hence to get people into the same venue (not necessarily the same "place"), repeatedly, with the same quality of "attraction", is a difficult feat. In Toronto we have a very active Songwriters Association of Canada with several venues, and it also flows and ebbs.

Second, the quality of a chapter is directly dependent on the quality of the co ordinators. They have to be interested in doing the job repeatedly, and be sufficiently plugged in to put a good meeting together. Al in TBay sounds like a special guy.

Third, chapters have to fully embrace the vision of JPF and bring it to the local level with the zeal of a missionary...and constantly promote the JPF message. "We're All In This Together" is a great slogan, but it is empty without a more comprehensive plan and necessary tools to "win new customers". This needs an awful lot of resources and dedication at the local level...something difficult to achieve with a part time co ordinator.

Not to throw a wrench into your dream, it's just the reality as I see it from my narrow vantage point as one who writes and plays for a hobby.

From my "professional" point of view, I think you have to decide on what you fundamentally want to be. An internet based vehicle that draws a global audience and has local chapters based on interest and part time people, or a chapter based organization that has a great website pople can use.

From what you say, you'd like to move from the first situation the the second....but you lack the resources to make it happen. In the back of your mind, perhaps you are planning for succession, and making it a "political" organization by which you can influence the industry may work, because you attract a different kind of co ordinator. But you know yourself that channeling the energies of creative types into a coherent model is kinda like herding hungry cats....plus its going to take money. Plus it's a fundamental change to JPF, even while its still within the "We're All In This Together" spirit.

I guess the bottom line I see is that strong local chapters begin with motivated, well equipped people who buy into the JPF vision and are zealous about spreading the message. That means the right people like Al and I'm sure others, and the required resources to help them succeed. Which boils down to message and money. Part of the message you have....the money's an on going issue.

Here's a thought. Sell local JPF franchises. Develop value in a chapter, and have locals run it like a business. JPF could be an industry force, a record label, a "nurturer" etc all in one. Maybe a local chapter is an alliance of a music store, recording facilities, venue etc. Nothing like a healthy dose of self interest to motivate the locals....

That's my simple stream of consciousness [Linked Image] Hope there's a nugget in there for you.


If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop