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    ARIA Popular Classical Music

June’s Joys

Goodness.  Here we are in July already – the year is half gone.  But, while the time has passed quickly, we feel we’ve a lot to be pleased about, so far this year.  We now have a stable system, streaming great music to you 24/7, and with almost half of every day featuring human presenters.  Best of all, we are not resting on our laurels.  We continue to move forward in our quest to bring you the world’s best classical music, all day and every day.

We thought you’d be interested in this map.  All the darker colored countries are countries that people have listened to ARIA from; and the red country is the one with the very most listeners.  Not bad coverage for now, and we hope there’ll be a day when the entire image is colored!

“Bridging the Gap”

By that I mean the 14 hours a day where we have no hosted music, just automatic presentation of the pieces without introductions or commentary.  Getting to 24 hours a day of fully live announcers is of course the ultimate goal, but getting there has to be in a series of small steps.

The next small step recognizes that we seem to be building up an audience in particular for our daily morning show between 6am and 11am (US central time), but then have it decay away when that show finishes at 11am.  So, as a half-way measure, I’m simply giving a very brief announcement at the top and bottom of the 11am and 12/noon hours for the music that plays in the next 30 minute segment.  It should be better than nothing and help people who would like to keep listening but want to know the names of the pieces played (although of course if you’re listening on a device with a screen, you should see the name of every piece while it is playing).

That has the happy outcome of meaning we have some type of coverage now for 12 hours every day.  Can we claim to be half-way to our ultimate objective?  Well, maybe, sort of!

Major New Article Series Published

We have just published a new four part article series, spanning in total 7,500 words, looking at the evolution of the role of conductors over the last 150+ years.  This can be accessed from a new “top page” all about conductors and conducting, and we will add more articles on the topic of conductors and their art in the future.

We took a long time to write this, because we’re delicately tip-toeing into some aspects of modern classical music performance that could be controversial and it is not our intention to give offense.  You can decide how successful we have been in that endeavour!

We see articles on the topic of classical music to be helpful, not only to give you more content and information about the general subject of classical music appreciation, but also to give search engines something to key into and to direct new visitors to our site.  Our previous article series on how to appreciate and listen to classical music brings us new visitors every day, hopefully this new series will grow our web traffic still further.  The more visitors to the website, the more people who end up listening to the music, too.

When 2 + 2 No Longer Equal 4

In the early days of setting up ARIA, it was easy to make significant and substantial process.  For example, when we had just 100 songs in the playlist, adding another 50 songs represented a 50% increase in the number of songs – one in every three songs played was a new song.  It made a big difference.

But now, with around 1500 songs being played, adding another 50 is an almost imperceptible move forward – rather than a 50% improvement, it is more like a 3% improvement, and rather than one in every three songs being new, it is one in every 30 – one every three hours or so.  A typical listener might not notice any difference at all.

We keep doing this though, because even if the improvements are not individually obvious, in total they help to shape the overall sound of the music you hear.  Plus, even with 1,500 pieces of music being played, there are still other great pieces of music we just know you’re sure to enjoy, and we want to introduce you to and share as many different compositions as practical.  Just this last month we realized we’d overlooked a great American composer of delightful “light music” pieces – Leroy Anderson.  We have now added a selection of his works to the playlist, and while you might go days without hearing one, we do hope that when you do, it will add another bit of variety to the program and another piece of pleasure to your day.

Talking about numbers, though, and to put these numbers into perspective, our three popular music style radio stations have 755, 767 and 833 songs in their music libraries.  We have over 50,000 classical tracks online for ARIA, and over 1,000 more ready to add as soon as we have our new software fully deployed.

As large as those numbers are, we know of stations and services with ten times as many classical tracks in their systems.  That doesn’t mean they’re ten times as good as us, and perhaps it means they’re less focused on “just the good parts that real people actually enjoy”, but it does mean we’ve a long way to go before we can offer a listener request show and be reasonably confident of having most of the pieces of music that people might request, already loaded into the system!

This Day in Musical History

We’ve been practicing how to include a daily feature whereby we look back at interesting things that have happened on that day in the past – the births and deaths of composers and performers, the first performances of pieces of music, and anything else that seems interesting.

This is not as easy as we’d hoped, but on a “good” day, we feel it is well worth the time we take to offer it to you.  What is a good day, you might wonder?  A good day is when there are some interesting events in the past that allow us to play musical pieces associated with those events.

Currently our plan is to talk about each day’s musical history at 6, 8, and 10; both am and pm, and times based on US central time.  Each of the three mentions, at the top of the hour, will be slightly different, and if we can find appropriate examples, we’ll follow the mention with an example of what the event is related to.  It is a way of making our listening experience more “multi-faceted” and hopefully, more interesting.

Written by: David Rowell

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