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Review of the year

It has, as they say, been a busy year.

The mobile site update has had a huge impact on site operations with nearly half our traffic going down that route now.

I took the opportunity at that time to make the donation link to my Rotary Club site simpler and more direct but that has had no noticeable impact except for a few more visits to the Trust Fund page on that site.

The remaining Beethoven symphonies were the big arrangement achievement of the year but in the event the Bagatelles, the Moonlight sonata and the Emperor concerto received as many downloads. Beethoven took the top 46 download slots in the last four months and when Google celebrated his anniversary on their search page we had the biggest spike ever - from India and Indonesia to the Beethoven page.

But, nothing daunted, to round the year out I have arranged some more ragtime and added some early blues for the first time. I am particularly pleased with the Jelly Roll Morton page which includes some material which I transcr…

The Beethoven Symphony Recordings have been completed.

Thanks to the half term holiday I have managed to complete the MP3 recordings of the remaining seven Beethoven Symphonies with a few other pieces thrown in for good measure.

My source MIDI files, mostly dated 1998, generally sttod up well but there were some issues with the Pastorale and I had to source some newer material where the copyright had still not been claimed.

This whole enterprise still feels like outrageous hubris but I can't argue with the taste of my website visitors who consistently download my Beethoven recordings in much higher volumes than anything else.

I'll be interested to see if there are any reactions to the final movement of the ninth Symphony where I have used a solo and a chorus of synthetic voices for the four parts. If nothing else it points up the way Beethoven sought to weave the voices in as yet another group of instruments in the structure of the movement.

I will publish them in the next few days.

Carry on arranging

As Beethoven's music is so popular I have decided to tackle the rest of the symphonies.

Up to now I have generally avoided slower tempo pieces or movements because they don't responsd so well to a predominatly percussion treatment. But with the arrival of the Gamelan orchestra in my musical palette it is easier to handle slower parts. I also use a cool pad to provide an extended sustain to both steel drum and marimba parts where necessary.

However the Chroral movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony has provided the additional challenge of human voices. There are many vox and chorus pads and I have selected male and female ones from my collection of Mega Mood presets. It's not recorded yet so there is still time for final tweaks but the simmpler arrangment, the absence of the lyrics and the absence of soloists makes the musical form more evident.

Nearly 15 years practice with this set of instruments and a variety of source MIDI material has meant that I can get to a firs…

Arranging again

It's been quite a long break since the last arrangements were made and published.

So it was nice to get back to the music again and see what new work can be produced.

I use a fairly basic Cubase software package with a Creamware sound card and standard monitor speakers in my office come studio at the bottom of the garden. We have been there for 8 years and it was overdue a tidyup which has improved the acoustics somewhat.

As my Beethoven recordings are so popular and the music responds so nicely to my percussion treatment this is where I am concentrating. A sonata, concerto and symphony so far are at the first cut stage - I will leave them to mature for a while before coming back to listen again and make further adjustments and final recordings. I am making more use of the gamelan in some of these arrangements and I have also aquired a nice "Steel Magic" preset instrument to augment my Purity  steel drums.

I have had a look at doing some work with jazz to follow on the r…

Summer months

During the summer visitor volumes on this site usually decline - a phenomena I have put down to the holidays of college students around the world.

This year has been a bit different - the Google searches did decline much as expected but the Twitter campaign carried on regardless and so we continued to download around 200 gig a month. But better than that the daily visits sometimes exceeded 1000 rather than the usual 600 presumably in response to new tweets, new images and variations in the patterns repetition. There are now 112 unique tweets on a seven day cycle and all the YouTube tweets have been replaced.

But a few larger daily peaks have been prompted by particularly powerful re-tweets.

But my efforts to solicit donations for My Rotary Club's Charitable Trust Fund have been a miserable failure.

Nothing daunted I have revamped the donation landing page on my Rotary Club website and I have added a Donate tab to the top navigation bar and I'll start monitoring the traffic the…

Settling down again

May has seen download volumes of over 200 Gigabits again.

It looks as if much of this is in direct response to the tweets although Twitter Analytics doesn't seem to record them as link clicks.  The geographical focus for the site has moved to South East Asia and so I try to time the tweets for early morning here late afternoon / early evening there - not so good for the USA.

Some of the re-tweets have produced dramatic i.e. 10 fold daily peaks in impressions.

Meanwhile the volume of searches has shown some dramatic surges which are probably linked in some way I have yet to discern.

All in all the Twitter campaign is continuing to perform well it is spreading awareness of the less frequently visited corners of the site while booting popularity of the favorites like Beethoven's Symphonies and the Can Can. So we will continue to refine and develop the content and be led by the audience response.

My Rotary Club has also received it's first donation from the site so perhaps tha…

Getting the wrinkles out

It takes a little while for every new version of my website to settle down and this was no exception.

The software I use these days is very good at handling the graphical presentation of the site but maintaining the links to the content has been more of a knife and fork job i including the use of FTP to get the files in the right folders. So apologies for those 404 errors.

There were also a few Mobile errors which Google picked up and I have fixed almost all of those which is handy because according to Google Analytics about 45% of my traffic now comes from mobile devices.

The tweeting campaign has actually benefited from Twitter's removal of the edit and re-tweet option as it forced me to organise them in a Word document for the daily cut and paste.

As you would expect from repetitive tweeting there is a steady modest response to each tweet presumably from occasional visitors to the various #tag streams I address but occasionally a re-tweet or favourite response will send the res…

The Mobile Update

Wow - good job it was a long weekend so that I could complete the Mobile website update.

The software I have been using to design and build the site is not really geared up for even medium sized sites like this one and there is a lot of copy and pasting involved followed by quite a bit of correction especially of download links. On the other hand the graphic design functionality is brilliant and it has been a lot easier to produce a consistently high quality visual image.

However the internet does provide some very prompt feedback and Android is now the pre-eminent operating system used by site visitors for the first time.  Some of the download file sizes may be a bit big for some mobile users and we might need to restore file sizes for the mobile version.

There are undoubtedly outstanding issues to resolve but I'll get to those in due course.

I have taken the opportunity to update some of the text but the basic structure of the site has been retained there is just a mobile duplic…
This month has seen continuing progress with download volumes over 200 gigabits for the first time.

Twitter analytics now provides data on the performance of individual tweets.  The links into site pages seem to be ineffective so I have replaced them with repeats of Download2MP3 to see if I can boost the search levels on the brand.

Android is the second most poular visitor operating system.  The site redesign with a mobile variant is progressing well but Google's 21st April deadline may be missed because it is more important to get all the details right than miss a bit of traffic.

Responses to donation requests are now being forwarded directly to my Rotary club donate page for online processing but no noticeable change yet.

An example of the need to get things right - in the website redesign process I noticed that I had overlooked the Rachmaninoff page which has some beautiful new arrangements. As there were no links to it there had been no visits or downloads but a new tweet has …

Let the Tweets continue

The Twitter campaign continues to generate a similar level of traffic.

I have moved away from the use of the YouTube videos to direct links to MP3 files on the site.  It appears that there is a relatively modest level of direct click through to these files but that the level of Google searches for the pieces or the composers responds.

I was concerned that daily repetition would result in diminishing returns but the modest level of variation of time of day and #tags used has been sufficient to  keep it going. More recently there has also been some gratifying re-tweet and favourite activity.

Evidence of the significance of Mobile devices in the user base has continued to mount and so I have embarked on the upgrade to a mobile compatible site. No small task as it goes but substantial progress has been made in recent weeks.

The geographical source of our users has also shifted with India ousting the USA from the top slot which is followed by Indonesia and Egypt.

I am also planning to dire…

Twitter campaign response

We have now completed three months of the daily tweeting campaign and the response is very strong and very clear.

This month we will download 170 gigabyte of music. In the last week every single one of our recordings was downloaded at least once which has definitely never happened before.

We have moved the emphasis away from You Tube based tweets to a mainly download link basis not least because the number of You Tube downloads has been relatively modest. We have also seen some of the more recent tweets Favorited.

It is difficult to interpret the organic search results along side the Twitter campaign but we seem to have gained a sustained benefit from the last major algorithm update and this has plateaued now. They now represent nearly a third of the visits to the site rather than ninety percent prior to the Twitter campaign.

For the first time the largest geographical source of the Google traffic is India followed by the USA, Egypt, Indonesia and the UK. But it looks as if there may …