Website data reveals a shift in audiences' tastes towards modern classical music

Posted by Tom Service on The Guardian's Classical Blog, January 24, 2011

What was the most performed work of classical music throughout the world last year?  Which was the most performed opera?  Answers to those questions and more are revealed by Bachtrack, the classical music listing site.  The data is based on trawling through the thousands of orchestral concerts and operas that Bachtrack lists annually, and the crunched numbers throw up some surprising facts.  The most performed work was Handel's Messiah and the [most performed] opera is Puccini's La Bohème.    So much for confirming what you might think of as the conservativeness of most classical music. But there are signs in the data of how tastes might be shifting.  Most encouragingly, while the tub-thumpers of the Romantic period are still the meat of most orchestral programmes, with 42% of all works performed, 20th and 21st-century music made up 35% of the music played in the world's concert halls in 2010.  As Alex Ross wrote recently, American audiences, at least, seem frightened of modernism, but they're not scared of the music written in the early 20th century. In America, 43% of the works played were from the later period - even if it's possible much of that was Rodrigo and Rachmaninov. But this could be a sign that - albeit with sloth-like progress - orchestral programmes might finally be catching up with the modern, or modern-ish, world. The point is, whether you think that the repertoires of classical music are doomed to ineluctable ossification or are instead subtly evolving, Bachtrack's stats don't lie, and are an essential barometer of the reality of how orchestras' and audiences' musical horizons are developing.


An online artists' community with 14 million members looks to go "mainstream"

From the February 2011 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine

deviantART [is] an online artists' community that started in 2000 and now has a staggering membership of more than 14 million. Users, lovingly referred to as "deviants," sign up for free accounts that come with a personal profile page, a blog and a space to post artwork and photos, along with the ability to chat, message and comment.  If it sounds like what other social networks have been doing for years, well... deviantART was doing most of it first. It was up and running three years before Myspace, four years before Flickr and Facebook.  As of December, deviantART's Alexa page rank was a respectable 125, and the website ranking site SEO Stats Script listed the company's valuation around $19 million. CEO and co-founder Angelo Sotira hit those numbers by deliberately keeping membership viral, allowing "artists to tell artists to tell artists."  Now, he says it's time for deviantART to go mainstream.  The site is bursting with content -- roughly 155,000 art submissions are uploaded daily, with 2.4 million unique visitors posting 1.5 million comments every day. A groups platform that was launched successfully early last year lets any deviant create a smaller, niche community, allowing the site to preserve its sense of intimacy. There are now 75,000 such groups, with hundreds more springing up every day. "The future of art is a big part of our story," says Sotira, whose ultimate goal is to expose people to art in a more engaging setting than a hushed museum or intimidating gallery -- and to help them discover the artist lurking within. "There was a time when every single one of us was drawing or coloring. But we just stopped, and that part was never developed. DeviantART can be a bridge back to the art world."


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FROM TC: These next stories aren't directly about the arts, but should be of interest to many of you.


Facebook offers advertisers new ways to leverage word-of-mouth

From Advertising Age, January 25, 2011

The ubiquitous "like" is currency for brands, and Facebook is giving them a new way to collect: an ad unit that shows up on the right-hand side of the screen it calls "sponsored stories."   The unit will give brand-related action such as a "like" or a check-in a lot more visibility on Facebook.   For example, if Starbucks buys a "sponsored story" ad, the status of a user's friends who check into or "like" Starbucks will run twice: once in the user's news feed, and again as a paid ad for Starbucks. Though clearly marked with the words "sponsored story," the ad -- which will includes a user's name, just like the news feed -- is not optional for Facebook users.  The way the product is today, a check-in post will show up in the ad feed exactly as the user wrote it. So if a user checks into Starbucks with a "I hate this place, but it's the only coffee around" then that's exactly what the "ad" turns out to be. Facebook is aware of this possibility, because people will be people, and it has left a "flag" button for "inappropriate content." Advertisers that don't want to take the chance of having negative sponsored stories pop up about them can limit their buys to likes. In a few weeks, the sponsored story product will be available as a self-service option.


Commentary: Want to reach Latino audiences?  Try using Twitter hashtags

Posted by Giovanni Rodriguez on, January 25, 2011

In an earlier column, we observed that Latinos not only index higher on Twitter than any other ethnic group, but also self-index higher: we tend to self-identify, self-organize, and self-categorize more than other folks. The tool of choice is the Twitter hashtag -- select words and phrases preceded by a hashmark (for example, "#twitterlandia") that make individual tweets more searchable. They also make the people doing the tweeting more findable, which is the greater opportunity for marketers hoping to engage Latinos.  But is there anything special about Latinos and Twitter hashtags?

It's not just about tagging; it's about belonging.  For many Twitter diehards today, the hashtag denotes not a thing but a group of people with similar interests. Many Latinos have openly embraced the hashtag for this kind of socialization.

It's not about "Twitter storms"; it's about persistent conversation. In a recent post, Alexis Madrigal takes a look at the lifecycle of a wildly popular conversation on Twitter. Mathew Ingram noted "how short-lived these Twitter storms can be." But most Latino hashtags are an ongoing conversation that continues after the meme of the day is gone.

It's not just about conversation; it's about organization, too. As legend has it, the first Twitter hashtag, #sandiegofires, was used to mobilize action for dealing with the 2007 San Diego fires. Despite forceful arguments to the contrary, Twitter has served as an effective platform for enabling purposeful groups to self-organize. For marketers, the challenge is to think of ways that go beyond targeting the people that make groups like this happen.

Here's a short list of some of the most active hashtags used mostly by online Latinos in the U.S.


Commentary: 22 ways nonprofits can use QR codes for fundraising & awareness

Posted by Heather Mansfield on her blog Nonprofit Tech 2.0, January 24, 2011

If you haven't noticed QR Codes yet, you're going to start to seeing them everywhere. So, what are they?  QR Codes are two-dimensional bar code images that when scanned by a camera on a smartphone open a link to a website, send a [text message], or [prompt the user to] dial a phone number.  You can easily create QR Codes for free at sites like and  QR Codes are ideal for location-based communications and fundraising campaigns. Interestingly enough, QR Codes are turning out to be a tool that finally helps nonprofits understand why they need mobile websites (for multiple reasons). Think about it. Linking to a desktop site on a smartphone is not practical. It's very difficult to read a 12" wide website on a 2.5" wide screen. To best utilize QR Codes you will need to link to Web pages designed for mobile browsing, especially "Donate Now" and "Text-to-Give Now" pages.  It's also smart to link to your social networking communities, but to the mobile versions.  The early adopters in the nonprofit sector are a creative bunch. With a mobile website (create one for only $8 a month) and a QR Code generator, there are thousands of possible QR Code campaigns. To help jumpstart your creativity, here are 22 ideas to ponder.

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