Dear readers, I thank you 100,000 times


Yesterday afternoon, Musical Toronto received its 100,000th individual visit only seven months in — and less than six months after I started treating it as a full-time job.

The response has exceeded my wildest hopes. So, 100,000 heartfelt thank yous for taking time out of your busy lives to check this place out.

I can only hope that the words here will continue to be relevant to your daily cultural engagement and conversation.

This milestone is especially significant given that Nielsen/MacKinsey’s research division, NM Incite found that, as of last October, the world counted 181 million blogs. No blogger can take even a single person’s attention for granted.

My colleague, Toronto composer, critic and scholar Colin Eatock has been in the process of compiling The Big List of Classical Music Blogs. The site already counts 561 links to independents, critics, newspapers, organizations, composers, musicians and other people writing about classical music and opera.

That’s a lot of chatter — and a goldmine of wit, insight, barb, history, gossip and instruction.

My blog’s stats show to me, day after day, that Musical Toronto readers are looking for a focus on art music and opera. Posts relating to other genres barely get noticed.

Readers are also looking for serious stuff, specifically reviews, interviews and anything else that contributes insight, meaning and context.

This runs counter to the blythe chatter that so much of social media is about. It’s a daily reminder that, in this little corner of our noisy world, practitioners and fans recognize that certain subjects defy a typical Twitter response of “Check out the awesum Semele and the blow-up God of Sleep!!!”

WHAT NEXT?

Ask anyone who has broken through the blogging readership barrier and they will say that running a successful blog is a full-time job. That’s full-time in the sense of checking news while sipping morning coffee to tossing aside bedtime reading for one last scan of the laptop.

I pray every night for the stamina to do it one more day.

But I worry about money even more.

I have lived and worked in a state of financial grace for the last six months, but I have to face the reality that I am working full-time at a job that pays exactly $0. That wouldn’t be sustainable in Malawi, much less in Toronto.

Asking readers to pay for access to a blog is ridiculous. So I need to solicit advertising in order to survive.

Currently, Google and WordPress really want to advertise on this blog, but they pay poorly and, in return, clutter up each page with awful, cheap-looking ads and links that may or may not have anything to do with the subject matter.

So, over the course of the next two months, Musical Toronto needs to move to a new server, will get a new design and, with luck and some work, will be sustainable through advertising revenue.

If not, I’ll need to go out and get a real job, as the saying goes.

With the exception of public broadcasters, the work of journalists and critics has always been supported by advertising. But they are not the ones who have had to go out and solicit it. So this raises a number of very serious issues around conflict of interest.

I intend to tread carefully.

STRENGTH IN COMMUNITY

I chose the blog’s name and its .org suffix because I’m merely a passing player — one already in middle age — in a city that already has more than two centuries of musical history, one that continues to grow in magnificent leaps and bounds.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Musical Toronto could become an enduring community and conversation, larger than any single blogger, ideally run as a not-for-profit organization offering all sorts of educational outreach as part of its mandate.

I may be delusional, but I firmly believe that the proliferation of social media only reinforces the need for respected, trusted hubs of information — not from one person, but a mixed chorus of voices.

Check out San Francisco Classical Voice, founded 14 years ago by former San Francisco Chronicle classical music critic Robert Commanday, to get an idea of what I’m talking about. It is an wondrous place that beautifully reflects a city with a vibrant art music and opera community.

According to its advertiser information, San Francisco Classical Voice, in its three-year-old current form, receives more than 30,000 unique visitors in an average month.

Right now, Musical Toronto is getting an average of 700 unique visitors a day — that’s more than 20,000 a month — from a simple blog that’s little more than six months old.

How’s that for potential?

YOUR INPUT IS ESSENTIAL

If there’s something you want to see or read here, let me know.

If you’re upset by something you see here, let me know.

Best of all, if you feel you have something to contribute, let me know.

I can be reached at suchacritic (at) gmail.com

Thank you — again and again.

John Terauds

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14 thoughts on “Dear readers, I thank you 100,000 times

  1. Congratulations & thanks, John!
    I am not surprised as you are well respected in the music hemisphere and beyond. I enjoy reading your various notes and frequently find a new venue or concert to attend that I may have overlooked. BRAVO!
    Best wishes for the future,
    Bonnie

  2. Congratulations on 100k hits John. Now that you are at cruising altitude after only six months, you are well placed to make your move to a monetized airspace. Your work contributes to and engenders a valuable dialogue as Toronto matures- as I believe it will -into one of the world’s great arts cities.

    I wish you and Musical Toronto success and many more hits,

  3. Congratulations John on your 100,000 visit to your blog, and here’s wishing you another 100,000 x 100,000 in the months to come! Love what you are doing – keep it up.

  4. Hello John from a former Torontonian. Congratulations and well deserved. I tweet your posts daily and find them fascinating. The wind chime sculpture, the Berlin Phil photos, Sydney Opera House projections and the discussion of “manners” in the concert hall were all standouts.
    ( my father was a member of the TSO for 38 years, I the Minnesota Orchestra for 33)
    Best wishes
    Janet Horvath

  5. yay John – that’s a terrific milestone – I love reading your blog and hopefully we are all able to help sustain it and you – look forward to finding out HOW, jane harbury

  6. Congratulations John!
    I too, like Ann Summers Dossena, will for sure pay an annual subscription fee for your Blog. (Probably one of only a few, like San Francisco Voice).
    Sounds to me like you need a “biz” plan that includes a mix of subscriptions and advertising.
    I know and trust a Social Media guru in Vancouver and another one in Boston who might help you out in the direction you talk about. Please let me know if this is helpful. I will be happy to share.
    Cheers!
    Susan

  7. Congratulations, John! You must have read my mind, as I was just thinking about these issues. We need to keep both you and your blog going. You are an essential connecting point in Toronto’s multi-faceted musical scene.

  8. Way to go John…you should teach a seminar at UofToronto about the future of music critics in the 21st Century…perhaps an alumni talk to raise awareness to all the issues you discussed! Well done – what a great way for me to stay connected to my musical community …from Prince Edward County!

    Best,
    Elizabeth

    • Dear John, I think Elizabeth has made a good suggestion. At recent industrial conferences in New York, Chicago and Montreal we all lament the elimination of arts journalists and critics. Everyone recognizes the problem but no one knows what to do about it other than trying to get publishers to listen. Any ideas would be appreciated by the arts communities everywhere. Ann

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