2016 50/90 Participation Level

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As we wrap up 50/90 I am curious as to how others felt about the participation level this year.

First I will say this was my fourth 50/90 and I wrote 8 new songs that I really like. I enjoyed quite a few forum conversations and heard a lot of great new music. So it was a very nice experience!

But to me it felt like participation was down this year. It seemed fairly active for a couple of weeks but then seemed to drop to a low level after that. And unfortunately I find that my own interest/participation tends to drop fairly quickly once the site gets quiet.

I did a quickie chart (click link below) based solely on overall song count for both 50/90 and FAWM for the past 7 years and this seems to show this year was indeed down a bit but perhaps not as much as I thought. Also, this does not take into consideration things like forum participation and commenting.

So I was just wondering what others felt about their 50/90 experience this year! Did it seem slower than usual, about the same or more active to you?


I think that perhaps those of us who have been doing 5090 for several years (6 for me) don't have quite the same level of enthusiasm as we did in the beginning. I remember the first year or two I was so excited, I would wake up in the middle of the night to lay down a track before going to work.

So yes, I would agree that it did seem slower than in years past, but I'm slower too.

i kept up my personal pace, hitting my intended goal. there were a familiar group of people commenting upon my lyrics, and since i do return every comment, though not immediately, my comments upon their pages likely spurred them to continue to comment upon my stuff. the forums seemed much less active after just a few weeks, but some threads were actively discouraged at times, which were quite inspirational to me, though this is neither here nor there, nor is it a complaint per se. i still have comments to return, and some to give based on tags, etc., and i might get to some of those tomorrow. the lyrics-first corpse took such a long time to complete that another could not be organized. my commenting slacked off later in the summer as my work took 6 days from my week instead of 5. i averaged over 3 comments per lyric for half of the summer, but ended at 2.7 per, so commenting definitely slacked off during the second half. that is likely the lowest average i have received any FAWM or 50/90 so far. i have kept one zong for half the summer which i wear as a badge of honor, quite perversely. it found no true audience, being different from most of my output, and a tad controversial in topic. i am actually pleased that it did not receive a "nice job!" comment, but still awaits someone it can connect with. i still have to get my comments given to received at 2, but will accomplish this soon. it definitely became more of a grind to keep up the one lyric per day pace to reach my goal by the end, but it will be fun to put the changes to all of those lyrics now! i am grateful to everyone who can read lyrics and comment upon them. i do wish that the lyrics that people realized music to had received more comments once the music was added. i mentioned them in the appropriate forum threads, but they arrived after the commenting pace slacked off so. i usually write in 3 month blocks anyway, but reserve the last week of each month to put changes to my lyrics. i eschewed this method this year to increase the raw lyric output. it will take me only days to put changes to the 3 months of lyrical output anyway, but i am glad that i have a break now from realizing lyrics, as i definitely need to recharge.

I more or less did what I set out to do, but not in the way it had been envisioned in the run-up to this year's 5090.

Agreed that participation did seem slow, but not too much more so than any other year.

What made it seem slower than it probably was; was the fact that a few of the once-prolific 5090ers I'd previously had close contact with, kind of took the year off.

Be that as it may, I'm happy with my output, and definitely heard a lot of really cool stuff from other artists.

Happy trails everyone!

I love 5090 - but yes, it felt slow at times. Having said that I was only able get to comment on 600 songs - so there was more than enough new music to listen to and enjoy. I also like that I could take some days off and come back to it. And as a lyricist, I wrote around 100 new lyrics and fellow 5090 musicians put music to about 1/4 of those - 27 full songs! So I feel quite lucky! I do hope that some people will stick around and do more commenting! I will be!

I thought it all was great. The quality of comment and interaction is as much as I would hope for.

Yes, I did not see the core dumps of pages of songs all at once, as I did at FAWM, that buried my one song, and have to delete and repost. However, I am not sure that was the drop off in interaction one may be commenting about.

-- I see the consistent element of interaction, is interaction.

However too, the quality of it, "like it and why"..., how felt and a what if "this"? supposition. Also, the flat out, surprise, "I just love your ... ...". See, I always thought my, ... ..., was amazing, and why. If one lives around "death metal" kids... Your acoustic Krappe, of any kind, is Krappe to them..., so to speak, -- over the top, to make a point : )

I agree with all of the above including the "discouraged this ... thing, thread". As I analogise, "it's a subway ride..." if you don't get or agree, move on. A counter point opinion can be very inspirational, however, -- but not, a, as I call it "WTF", tltr commentary, -- why do that? *Didnt see that extreme, but saw the framing of it, then wonderfully ramped down : ) Move on, or find a way to frame it, for, -- communication. (Some folks may not realise who I interact with, I absolutely disagree, but, so what... Proceeding, is the fun of here too, "new worlds", countries, of thought.)

However, that negativity does kill free expression, -- why we're here, free unruled expression. So, in that regard, I was less likely to even, "like it, sounds good", useless comment. Yet I am shocked I song commented as much as I did.

-- So, again, it's all good, as far as I see it. : ) with substance qualifiers, abridged.

My first 50/90 so I have no frame of reference to make comparisons. I did notice that most people don't hang around for 90 days but summer is a busy time for a lot of folks. I don't compare song numbers - I believe each has their own goals. I don't want to make suggestions or critiques... just an observation that after the first 30 days, this place was full of crickets and pharm ads Smile Smile Smile Which could be the norm, what do I know? Smile Smile Smile Notice the smilies to indicate humor, not blasting. Smile

Of course I'll be back next year. My songwriting life is different from others, and I don't expect anyone else to keep the schedule I do Smile Smile Smile After all, it's about writing - not production amounts Smile

My personal song output was a bit disappointing this year (my sixth), and I'm not sure why. I really have two modes of writing--- big multi-instrumentalist arrangements that I could never perform live, and self-contained singer songwriter tunes that I can fit into my coffeeshop sets. Having spent FAWM abroad, and focusing on that later mode of writing, I never really engaged with my home studio once I set it back up. Like an atrophied muscle.

I really enjoyed some of the new voices, and I'm still discovering music and musicians. And I started my most successful forum thread ever with the music of the spheres challenge! I've never started a thread that required a second page!! That was a nice surprise.

I did miss several 5090s who have been more active in past challenges.

Overall, it felt a little less active to me, but I felt like it was my own fault for not commenting, posting in the forums, and of course writing more songs. The good thing is that every year we get a fresh start, I love that about 50/90 and FAWM. Who knows about the long-term growth of these projects? We have self selected a fairly unusual sample here, and there may be a natural life-cycle to people's involvement. On the other hand, these challenges are what we make of them. I hope to be around when we hit FAWM escape velocity. It ought to be a big (virtual) party. Perhaps FAWM 2017 ???

I wrote more this year than ever before and commented on more as well. I am always amazed at the huge array of talent on this site and am always happy to wok with anyone. It did slow down, but I felt creative for most of it and am so thankful for this site!

There were two things that I believe may have had some dampening effect on the intensity this time. As already noted, many players who have had very active presences in the past were not here, and no matter what else is going on, when you miss someone it is a little bit deflating, at least for awhile. Maybe some even dropped out due to that before they got through the initial disappointment to make this year it's own experience? Secondly, and I have mixed feelings about this one, I did not notice a "Recommended Songs" thread here. I'm not *positive* it's been part of 50/90 like it is in FAWM. And my ambivalence is because this is definitely not a competitive contest between us, and I wouldn't want it to be taken in that spirit. But it's been my experience that those threads are another kind of cheerleading to tap into because they contain mutual appreciation and I think they are a source of cohesion-building, because we might be directed to songs we'd otherwise miss. Not sharing our amazing finds with each other publicly in that way left a little bit of the quieter sense I felt in comparison to other years. But I had a wonderful time, and I second the comment on enjoying many new voices, and their leadership, too!

Looking at the numbers in John's chart was quite surprising - the fact that the song count was better than 2014 (which I thought was a good 50/90) suggests that my perception was largely coloured by my own relative lack of involvement this year. Maybe it's also down to the activity coming from different people to those I have been following over the last few years.

This was one of my better years in terms of song numbers, which I find surprising as I don't feel like I really immersed myself in the challenge this year. I've written a couple of things that I'm proud of, and I heard some great stuff from you lot, but I definitely feel like my participation level was lower than the 48% that my final song count would imply Smile

@izaak next FAWM will be my tenth, so I practically INSIST on a big virtual party!

It only felt slow to the ones who have been here awhile and seen better years. For the first timers it just is what it is. And I couldn't help thinking that for the first timers it must feel a bit discouraging to read comments about a slow year. And as @johnstaples' figures show it really wasn't the worst year. It just wasn't the best year. I agree with @atitlan that it's very subjective all things considered. You kind of make it as slow or fast as you like.

@barbara There is Recommended Song thread. Only it is called "Your Favourite Songs From This Year". Have a look ( he said totally selflessly ). Smile

I had a slow period somewhere in the middle. Then I picked myself up and started commenting more, thinking: " I can't wait for others to be active, I have to do my part first." In the end this was to most busiest 50/90 for me ever, comment-wise, 339 comments given. With 25 entries ( 14 collabs ) on my song page I won't complain. I made some new type of collabs, doing background music to acappella song and then lyrics for an already existing melody - and did two "compilation" songs. Never done these before, got nice feedback and it felt good to cover new grounds.

And @cindyrella really helped me a lot with her kind and timely comments. As did @Technicolor Gramophone, @Ferry Colyer, @atitlan and @Pam Grisham among others, just to name a few.

Thanks for the encouragement all you lovely people, "collabsters" and commenters!

And let's not forget the people who made this all possible in the first place, @Eric Distad and others.

Thanks for pointing out that thread, @Klaus. My mistake.

I sucked this year. Distractions, I decided to train for a 100 mile bike ride, I had rats In my basement studio. I got a little done, but it was not a good 59/90 for me.

I commented on this topic on the FAWM FB group, so will avoid repeating myself too much except to repeat that this has been my best 5090 yet. That probably had more to do with my reallocation of creative resources towards more songwriting. I had a lot of growth, mainly in the area of collaborations. I gathered up the courage to ask some of my favorite musicians here to collaborate and to my surprise, most said yes. I probably had more collaboration interaction compared to my prior 5090's. A few felt like real co-writes :). I miss the missing too, but made new friends. Outside of FAWM and 5090 I am blessed to have many songwriter friends, most of them think I'm crazy for doing this.

The average number of songs that an active participant completed this year was 15.73. Well done, everyone, we all finished FAWM!

@Stephen Wordsmith thanks for including that lovely little stat. I feel better about my 14 songs this 50/90! Happy to be about average. Smile
I commented on this post already on the FB page. So won't bore with a repeat (but in summary; mother of 4, so only really get to partake for the month of Sept).
But suffice to say I had a blast, it felt the same as last year's 50/90 pace-wise. Though I missed a few of my FAWM buddies that weren't on here this year, it was also nice to make new ones. The social side of this being as important to me as the songwriting. Smile Smile

Due to an over-abundance of other commitments this summer, I knew my 50-90 time would be severely limited. But I'm glad I ended up with even a couple more lyrics than I thought I would.

Now I can hardly wait until FAWM 2017 and its usual inspiration and camaraderie. It brightens up and enriches what used to be the dullest month of the year. Smile

Interesting thread for establishing perspective. Thanks for the graph, @johnstaples!
I get so deeply into 50/90 that it always seems personally intense regardless of what the overall participation level is. Sometimes I wish the forums were more active and at times (though not too often, actually) I wish I had more comments, but it's always enough to keep me interested.
Sure, it's different from FAWM, but I like 50/90 just as much. I like the tight community - especially of those who stick around until the end and beyond. I like the challenge of writing 50 unique songs - sure, I did a bunch of blues songs, but it's a challenge to make each different.
Also, I'm inspired by summer themes - gardening, baseball, nostalgia, visiting family, weather.
But back to the original topic - I'm cool with the participation level this year, as I was last year, and the year before ... I got what I expected.

I always have fun. I didn't do as many demos as last year, but I think my lyrics were stronger. As far as songs go, last year ArtyRedSocks had some ungodly number - like 500? and this year he only did 70. So there's 400+ songs right there. Time is always my limiting factor. This year I don't feel burned out or sick of writing. I commented at my usual level, which is far below most of you hard core comment posters. Smile

Some elaboration on the average output:

The mean may have been around fifteen or sixteen, but the impressive volume of output by the winners has skewed this quite a bit higher than the median. If you reached 14 songs, you've had one of the greater outputs this year. Not that it's all about that, of course.

Of the 237 active participants this year,

The minimum number of songs completed was 1
The Lower Quartile (25th percentile) was 3
The median number of songs completed was 9
The Upper Quartile (75th percentile) was 21
The greatest number of songs completed was 151 (good work, @cindyrella).

Thank you, Mr Mathematics Smile