The Client

Making Music is a membership body for leisure-time music, with over 220,000 members, including 3,800 groups across the UK. Their history goes back to 1933. They provide support for their members to make and promote their music, as well as provide niche insurance to cover instruments and the potential costs of concert cancellations. They also provide support for artists, provide practical resources, and lobby decision-makers about the benefits of music for all.

Making Music website image


The Challenge

When we were introduced to the project in 2015, Making Music was run from a basic database and some spreadsheets. All the data was stored on servers on their premises. 

At this time they were going through a period of rapid change and could see that their current set up wasn’t fit for purpose. This is the list of requirements from their initial enquiry:

  • A new website A CRM for membership administration
  • A way to manage events (they’d recently started using Eventbrite)
  • A way to manage billing
  • Integration for their insurance process
  • Standardised and automated workflows 


The Solution

During the discovery phase we gathered user-stories from a wide range of stakeholders including individual musicians, music groups, representatives from partner organisations and the Making Music staff. It was important to make sure that no interested parties were overlooked. 

We built a new Drupal website and an integrated CiviCRM database. Because the project was built from scratch, we knew that this 1st iteration would really be the starting point for continuous innovation for Making Music’s digital infrastructure. 

Prior to our involvement, the process of becoming a member of Making Music was manual. Payments had to be directly. Similarly, musicians wishing to purchase insurance, had to make direct contact with a team member. We automated these processes and payments through the use of webforms on the Drupal website. The webform also generates an entry on the CiviCRM database. Automating these functions has greatly reduced the friction experienced by users signing up and making purchases. This has led to an increase in memberships and insurance premiums. The time saved by the Making Music team, means that they can spend their time developing activities which increase their impact as an organisation. Automation has increased revenue which enables Making Music to meet their goals.

In addition to this, we developed the “Music Bank” -  a sheet music database. Members can use the search tool to find pieces of music that fit certain criteria. There’s a facility to download programme notes and find sheet music copies to borrow from other Making Music members. They can also research repertoire, information on composers, pieces, orchestrations and arrangements. The search criteria was designed in response to the findings from the discovery phase. 


The Results

In the 7 years since this first development project, we’ve acted as a trusted partner to Making Music through a process of modernisation. We’ve carried out two development phases of considerable size. Our involvement with the organisation enabled them to evolve. Now many of their processes are highly automated, they can focus their efforts on how to best support musicians in the uk during a rapid period of change for the music industry.