The San Francisco Tape Music Center was founded in 1962 by composers Pauline Oliveros, Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender as a "nonprofit cultural and educational corporation, the aim of which was to present concerts and offer a place to learn about work within the tape music medium". Other composers involved include Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and later William Maginnis and Tony Martin.
The SFTMC had begun as an electronic studio established by the improvisation group Sonics at the San Francisco Conservatory. Sonics was formed in 1961 by Oliveros and other members of one of Robert Erickson's composition seminars. (Von Gunden 1983, p.33)
In 1967 the group accepted a $15,000 grant to join the Mills Center for Contemporary Music, with Oliveros as director, though the last of the original composers left the group that year. When Robert Ashley became the director in 1969 no equipment was left.