Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Ebb and Flow of Blogging

At Musical Assumptions, Elaine Fine is lamenting what she calls the fall of musical bloggery. First off, the ebb and flow of one blog doesn't mean the blogosphere is dying. Second, there is a seasonal aspect to all of this; there's less going on in the summer musically (at least in my neck of the woods) and people are more likely to be outdoors than blogging, reading blogs, or attending musical events. I mean, Dial M for Musicology had no postings in January, but they're back in business and have had several this month.

Here are some of my own statistics for this year, with apologies for formatting issues:

Month      Number of Postings      Number of Visits    Number of Page Views

July               24                                   2900                             3800
June              27                                   3600                             4500
May               17                                   3800                             4800
April               20                                  3700                             4700                           
March            32                                   5400                            7500
February       26                                   4400                            5800
January         34                                   3900                            5200

Now, what might account for some of the ups and downs? In my case, there were a few things going on in the first three months of the year:
  • Season announcements, which I track and comment on.
  • San Francisco Symphony strike, which I didn't cover as closely as I should have (a planned summary posting was pre-empted when the strike was settled, for example).
  • The death of SFS principal oboist William Bennett.
I was out of town for the first 11 days of May and tired out after that, so May was slim pickings in posting. I had readers anyway.

I'd like to see statistics for a number of blogs over a several-year period showing a fall of musical bloggery. The stats for one or two blogs over less than half a year don't show a pattern. I can definitely say that my readership has increased over the last few years. I obviously can't speak for anyone else.

What I can say is that the 50 or so music blogs I read are alive and well, and with the Proms on right now, there's almost more than I can keep up with. Anyone who thinks there's a gradual fall of music blogging might just consider a change of reading material.

UPDATE: I originally labeled the third column Number of Visitors. It is now corrected to Number of Visits. They're not the same thing.


Henry Holland said...

With me, obviously, I've been a loyal reader for what? five years now. For me, part of the problem is that classical/opera bloggers don't really post all that much compared to the sports and news bloggers I read. Also, what is there to say about a review of a concert unless you were there as well unless the writer makes outrageous claims ("Verdi never wrote anything less than a masterpiece, even Oberto and the like")?

Then there's someone like Mark Barry at Boulezian who seems to have the same problem with Britten that La Cieca does and has made some really silly comments about Britten's operas recently. I tried to respond to them but I deleted the replies because they amounted to "Wait, you like La Vie parisienne but don't like large chunks of Britten? What-EVER, dude".

What's baffling is that people read these blogs, but they never comment. I still remember when Brian at OutWest Arts ran a "name this opera" audio contest and I won (the prize was a DVD of *gasp* the female composer *gasp* Unsuk Chin's terrific opera Alice in Wonderland). He made some snarky remark along the lines of "Well, of course Henry Holland won, he's the only one that comments here". :-)

Lisa Hirsch said...

It's a feature, not a bug, that we're not posting 10 times a day.

I've occasionally queried reviewers. I mean, since you mention Mark Berry, he considers Verdi worthless. I asked him about this and didn't get an answer. I'm hoping to see him on his swing through SF in a couple of weeks and then he will have to answer my questions. I disagree with some of his opinions of Britten, agree with others.

You and I are inveterate chatterboxes, so we are puzzled by non-commenters, but the lurker to poster ratio is supposed to be 10 to 1 everywhere on the intertubes.

Genevieve Castle Room said...


"I've occasionally queried reviewers. I mean, since you mention Mark Berry, he considers Verdi worthless"


Oh, don't get me started.

I asked him via Twitter several months ago where his total aversion to Verdi came from (including Falstaff)

His answer?

"From the utter poverty of his invention"

Then he said he found far more of interest in Apollo et Hyacinthus and Die Feen.

Anonymous said...

Interesting about your thoughts on whether or not people leave comments. I've had a knitter / travel blog for a couple of years, but post only a handful of times per month at most. Now that I've moved my musical posts over to a blog dedicated to music (usually classical) I'm posting more often. That's where my passion is - I love music so there you go!

That said, I'm thrilled whenever someone leaves a comment. At this stage though, I'm only 7 weeks into my music blog so I don't really have a history and am nowhere near the numbers you cite here, but hey - nobody knows about me yet. That will change with time and perhaps this time next year, I'll be able to start seeing trends. I don't work in the music industry. I just like it. We'll see how it goes. Thanks!

Genevieve Castle Room said...

@ Henry

"Then there's someone like Mark Berry at Boulezian who seems to have the same problem with Britten that La Cieca does and has made some really silly comments about Britten's operas recently"


This was a really silly comment on your part, I must say.

"The real 3 B's are Berg, Boulez and Birtwistle"

Lisa Hirsch said...

Berg, Boulez, and Birtwistle - sounds good to me.

I like comments. Most of them, anyway.

Scott said...

"It's a feature, not a bug, that we're not posting 10 times a day."

Hallelujah! I strongly favour blogs where the owner posts when she has something useful to say. Far too many blog owners seem to feel a need to avoid the net equivalent of "dead air" at all costs.

Just starting with this blog, having been alerted to it by Overgrown Path. Looking forward to the experience ...

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thank you - I hope you enjoy the blog.