A Direct Address

Hello, everyone. I’m the one who’s responsible for this crazy blog. For any of you who consider themselves loyal readers, I thank you. Seeing the fact that my crazy music ramblings and attempts to create a partial resource for music history of all types actually has an audience is incredibly gratifying.

Now then, since this is a new year, I wanted to talk a little time and give a report on what’s happened so far this past year, as well some of the things coming up for Gotta Hear ‘Em All: 2020 Edition.

I started the blog in 2018, though took a massive hit in confidence early in its life which kept me from doing a ton early on. In 2019, I finally decided to add history posts to my live review posts. This resulted in an explosion in content and readership, as well as a renewed commitment on my part to keep working and honing my craft as a music history writer. It’s helped me create a much stricter working schedule and increase the discipline with which I approach this project.

I also started sharing what I wrote with more frequency. Sharing one’s work is incredibly stressful. Thankfully, one music fandom in particular has been quite friendly, so I’ve been more confident working with them.

This past year, my blog was particularly rock ‘n roll-based, and I focused on the history of three bands: Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Rainbow. Tangerine Dream and King Crimson cropped up occasionally as well, as did a few other acts. Classical/symphonic music appeared as well here and there. In total, I wrote 91 posts this past year, over 10 times the amount of posts I made in 2018.

My five most popular posts were a short eulogy to Greg Lake, a post celebrating the release of Brain Salad Surgery, a post on the birthday of Rachel Flowers, a post on the premiere of the Nutcracker, and a post on ELP’s probable genesis. The posts I am proudest of are said eulogy, a post about Steve Morse’s joining Deep Purple, a ‘Greg Lake’s 10 Essential Songs’ post, coverage of Tangerine Dream’s legendary set at Reims, and a post analyzing the song “Fools”. My least popular posts are all of the ones which I am linking in the next block. Give ‘em some love, if you would!

My viewership and follower stats also jumped quite a lot! Thank you to everyone who read and decided to follow this year. In total, I got 4,806 views on my site this year. It’s a drastic jump from the 115 in 2018, that’s for sure!

In total, I ended the year with 10 followers, 2 via email and 8 via wordpress. I’d love it if you joined that number in 2020, if you’re not one of them already.

I also find the sources of views quite interesting.

This is a bit inaccurate as it slightly underreports specific views, but it’s still quite neat. As you can see, the vast majority of my traffic comes from Facebook, which is something mostly self-cultivated. The views from twitter and reddit are also self-cultivated. Other things are places which automatically got pinged when I linked to them. What interests me a lot are the views from the WordPress reader, the WordPress android app, and search engines. These are explicitly not self-cultivated. Some may be followers of this blog who get notifications in their timelines and such, which is great and shows that I’ve got a few engaged readers. Others (falling both under the search engine and under the WordPress services) may be people who found this blog on their own, which is also a good sign for this blog’s future.

As for sharing, I noticed a few simple things that I haven’t really analyzed overmuch. The classical posts I had the courage to share had decent success; one even became one of my top 5 most successful posts of 2019. Meanwhile, ELP posts I share are a reliable source of traffic; they also tend to be the posts which are most often shared by people other than me. The Tangerine Dream and Yes posts, while few, got positive reception as well; it was these two places where I got the most encouragement to please write more about the subject in my posts. Posts for Deep Purple and Rainbow got a lower reception, netting fewer views and a few straight-up rude comments. Posts for King Crimson barely gained a reaction. These stats probably won’t affect what I plan to write on too much, but since I have some viewership goals (as you’ll see below), it will have some effects.

And now, on to next year!

First of all, by December 31st, 2020, I want my “On This Day” page to be a lot better. At minimum, I want each day to have one event listed underneath, whether it be a birth, a death, an album release, a gig, a major breakthrough in musical technology, or all of the above. So far, I’ve got 53 days covered not including days I’ve put with asterisks. Some days might have more than one event. I’ve got many planned by this point, but am always open to finding new ones. Either way, that’ll hopefully be at least one new “On This Day” post per day coming in the new year. At this moment, I have 3 posts scheduled, so I’ve got 310 to write in order to hit the minimum of my goal. Wish me luck!

Secondly, I want to get back to the original goal of this website, which is to write about the music I listen to. Mostly it means reviewing live recordings, but it hopefully means I’ll be doing a few studio albums here and there as well. I hope to get at least one of those out per week. If it’s a particularly bad or busy week, I might only be able to publish a shorter bit. There are 52 weeks in a year, and since I currently have 0 scheduled, that means I have 52 longer posts to write.

I realize as I write this that this means I will, at minimum, be writing 362 posts in 2020. That’s a hell of a lot, so I hope I’ll be able to handle it. With that, I also expect I’ll make a few mistakes. I invite anyone who sees something they know to be factually inaccurate to speak up! I promise I won’t be embarrassed, or at least won’t show it. It’s thanks to readers who know more than I do that I’ll be able to get stuff figured out.

I also aim to diversify the content about which I’m writing. I’ve got three bands which I consider my main content sources. I aim to bring at least two more groups, namely Yes and Tangerine Dream, into that mix of “main content sources”. I also plan on writing more about different kinds of music—more classical, some jazz, some middle eastern, some new age, and more electronic, to be precise.

Finally, I aim to start a major project in 2020, which you’ll probably see starting around May. More on that when it comes 😉

And now, enough about the things I can control. Here’s my goals for my audience.

In November of 2019, the month I really started aggressively publishing, I got just over 1300 views. I’ve decided that from now on, that is my monthly viewership goal. More would be great. If I can achieve that, it means I’ll rack up 15,600 views by December 31st, 2020. Maybe I can make it. Maybe I’ll surpass it. Bottom line, that’s my goal now. I’ll have to average 47 views a day to get this done.

To keep this up, I’ll have to keep a steady flow of content. As you can see, I aim to do that. Furthermore, I have to be at least somewhat responsive to audience demand. Based on my writing stats and information I got from a survey I’ve been doing to wrap up the year, I’ve figured out that the most reliable things to focus on if I want maximum views are ELP and classical music. This is a very good thing, as ELP is one of my favorite bands anyway. Meanwhile, one of my goals to diversify my content is to write more on classical music. Win-win scenario, as far as I’m concerned! If you’re a reader who doesn’t care about either of those things, please stay involved and let me know of your interests. Knowing other readers are out there is encouraging to me when I focus on other content.

Now the question is what you can do, if you want to help!

  • Follow my site, if you aren’t already. With more followers and followers who’re engaged with my content, it means I can spend a lot less time chasing people down if I want a reliable stream of viewers. It also looks good for the algorithms, which run most things online anyway.
  • Share posts you like on social media. Any platform is okay. I personally have had the best luck when I share stuff to Facebook and reddit. This also helps with me spending less time sharing stuff. And you know what that means? More time actually producing content, and with all the posts I’ve got planned, I need every second I can get.
  • Lastly, I want to encourage everyone to please give tons of feedback. Let me know what you like. Let me know what I’ve done wrong (nicely and in a targeted manner, please). Let me know your experiences with what I’m writing. Were you at a concert I covered? Do you have photos or memorabilia? Let me know!

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