5. Maintaining the site takes too much time. Due to the 5,000 [2016 update: closer to 10,000] odd embedded videos on the site, none of which are downloaded — they’re just borrowed from various libraries — the site takes a ridiculous amount of time for daily maintenance. Youtube, in particular, removes and destroys videos at an alarming rate, usually citing copyright claims by one of the major music groups (Sony, WMG, EMI, etc.).
I’ve got a number of other sites which have been either completely neglected or nearly so during the past two years because of the huge amount of time spent developing and maintaining Songbook. I’d like to revise and reopen some of those sites, and may open a new popular music site soon, beginning at 1960.
4. Because of the unstable nature of most of my posts and pages (disappearing videos), I have not the luxury of letting the site run on autopilot for any length of time without it sustaining heavy damage. I don’t want a visitor to enter a page only to find that six out of ten videos either don’t play or don’t exist anymore.
3. Waning visitor interest: The site has experienced a drop-off of visitors in late spring or early summer each year since it opened in 2009. Last year, the traffic declined 40% from May to June. The June drop was steeper in 2010. So I was a bit surprised that the traffic held fairly steady for a couple of weeks after the college spring semester ended this year, and even increased in volume briefly in early June. However, a steady fall in daily visitors began about two weeks ago, and a sharp decline is evident in the past few days (since June 27).
As it has in previous years, the present downward trend may turn and slowly recover as summer drifts toward autumn, but there are other signs that interest in the site is waning. Songbook has never received a large amount of comments, but lately my visitors have grown positively mum. A total of four comments, excluding spam (which is growing), in the past 32 days.
2. My favorite period is the mid-1960s to early 1970s. I’ve been itching to shift my focus to this era. At the same time, my interest in music of earlier decades has grown rather cold. However, I don’t get the impression that many of my visitors are eager to follow in the direction I’m going. There’s been relatively little interest in my Burt Bacharach index (presently 15 feature pages, with more to come) which constitutes one the largest tributes to an artist on the site. Also, excluding the song Corcovado, my Antonio Carlos Jobim pages (11 individually featured songs) have attracted little interest until the past week during which The Girl from Ipanema has also charted in the top twelve most visited. A Goffin and King page, brief as it is, drew more attention than I expected for a while.
I don’t know if I’ve had a single visitor as yet to my page Songwriters, from 1955 (in construction), published about 7 weeks ago, in which I lay out some of my projected plans at that time for the future of the site, the songwriters of the 1960s, ’70s, and beyond which I’d be likely to focus upon in this project. But unmentioned there is my intention to also do annual hits pages. These may become central features of the project, along with special features on such topics as selected songwriters, bands and solo artists, and albums. It won’t be the Billboard top ten or twenty, but my selection of hits gleaned from the year-end Hot 100 charts.
The maintenance duties on previous posts and pages continue to delay and hamper my efforts to focus on the 1960s. I’ve also been preoccupied with some external matters during the past couple of months. What I envision for the 1960s and early 1970s is potentially a large project which will require focused and intense work over a series of months.
I’m not sure I have the energy to carry through with the project at this time. Maybe the project needs to be freed from the constraints of, and the oft-perceived conflicts with, music of the classic American popular song era (which still constitutes a major portion of this site). Why not begin a new site with 1960? Something will probably happen by September.
1. The yips.
30 June 2012