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Showing posts from 2009

Over 1000 Carol of the Bells Downloads

This has been our most successful Christmas gift offer yet. Over a 1000 downloads - mostly to the USA but many other parts of the world too. Over the last couple of months I have been working on a lot more Rags using the new Native Instruments Gamelan - so more good things in store for the new year. In the mean time I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

OS Commerce Update

After mulling it over for a while I have decided to tackle the Big Update. Yes that's the complete shop overhaul! OS Commerce has come up with an 3.0 alpha version with a more controllable template CSS and all that and I don't need the outstanding items flagged for later releases. This time I am going to integrate the shop with the rest of the site whilst retaining the existing URLs and take the opportunity to update the overall appearance: colour scheme, Menus - the works. I'm even going to replace the database to remove any wrinkles that may have crept in. As far as I can see I just need to rent a second database and set up a development area in my existing web space to be able to develop and test as I go along. Then I should be able to change over quickly and easily. Never the less I expect this will take quite some time and if I hit anything interesting I'll do more posts. Other wise it has been a quiet summer again while the students are on their holidays.

Only Number One will do

The new Google Webmaster tools have exposed a new phenomena in Google search behaviour. It has become evident from my results that far and away the vast majority of searchers only look at the first result on the results page. This is a huge change from years gone by when you could get some hits from the second page let alone the bottom of the first page. People don't pay for the 1,2,3 ads in my sector because the is not enough money in it but you can see how effective it must be in other sectors. It would appear that Google's progressive refinements to their algorithms have achieved near perfection form the searcher's point of view. This doesn't reflect some of my own experience as a searcher but perhaps that is a signal that what I am looking for may not be available. This makes the challenge of site optimistation much greater and must have implications for small competitors versus large ones. On the other hand I suppose the constant churn does give more that one

Tidying up the site

After a major change like the removal of Ring tones from the product range there is a lot of tidying up to do. Dreamweaver comes into its own as a mangangement tool - enabling a site wide search for references across 5000+ files. The on line free site map tool at helps too with identification of remaining site quality issues - some of which still have to be fixed. Broken links caused by typos etc. A little trip down memory lane to the menu files and a follow up today to finish the job. There is an opportunity to revamp the whole side bar now but I'm going to mull that over for a while. Oddly enough the price changes seems to have gone through relatively smoothly. Although there is little in the way of automation to help with the HTML, the back end system is relatively rigourus because the prices are only kept in one database table and that is what get's charged. Because I was editing the table in Excel I was able to us

First New Price Structure since 2004

When we opened this site our declared pricing strategy was to follow iTunes. What we ncould not anticpate was that it would be so stable for so many years. But the dollar a track bulwark is beginning to crack and we have decided to go with the flow. So we have now implemented a new structure based on track duration. 5 minutes or more 0.99$(US) 4-5 minutes 0.69$(US) 3-4 minutes 0.49$(US) <3 minutes 0.29$(US) The PayPal processing fee has been retained for orders below 3$(US) and the 30% discounts still kick in on orders for 3 or more items. So far there has been no response to these massive price cuts - perhaps price never was an issue and music buyers are not as rational as all that. Oh and by the way we have bailed out of the Ring tone game but they might come back as freebies I suppose because they are quite nice. It was fun to do but never caught on commercially possibly because they only work on phones that can download the MP3 file from the PC.

14 New Mozart Recordings

At last we have got them launched. The production process for these recordings was a joy. It has taken a little while to get familiar with the capabilities of our new set up and the experience with the Beethoven Symphonies was very instructive. I have always loved the Mozart concertos which we have interpreted here and it was great fun working out how to arrange them to best effect. The quality of the MIDI files on which they are based is good and we now have a fairly settled mix and mastering approach which produces repeatable results. We have used the Talking Steel module before to under pin or supplement the steel drums but in the Horn concerto it comes into it's own as the lead instrument. In contrast for the Flute and Harp Concerto we used a Flute and Harp as the lead instruments and a percussion band as the orchestra but the wonders of electronic music mean that we were able to make them more prominent. We don't have complete Mozart Symphonies but the two first mo

Google Rankings Churn

Here is a blast from the past - Page rankings on Google. Time was many of us watched anxiously for the next shift in Google's ranking formulae because of the dramatic impact they could have on our site traffic. But for some time now things have been very steady on the page rank site. However today I noticed that music Downloads were in the top 10 volatile sites on the latest little excursion by Google. Here are the top 10: #1 visit #2 visit #3 visit #4 visit #5 visit #6 visit #7 visit #8 visit #9 visit #10 vis To see the chart got to Rank Pulse here: (Rank Pulse have got a bit more secure on their image co

Player Effects

There are the some modest indications that the new players may be having some effect on the proportion of very short visits to the site which is obviously positive if it is sustained. So we will carry on with the application on the more popular landing pages and see what we can do and perhaps we'll see if we can add one to this blog page.

Settling Down

After making significant changes to the site and launching new products you are naturally prompted to delve a little further in to the site monitoring data. As ever there are mixed results - the use of the new player has substantially increased the volume of music streamed off the site. Some of that is push and some pull and we have more work to do to get a proper handle on that. Suffice it to say that we have plenty of head room on our ISP package to expand the volume still further but I want to do it in a controlled way. There is definitely scope for more page specific play lists and we should be able to have more fun with the site wide players using hidden, randomised play lists. On the other hand we are not seeing much in the way of change to other aspects of the site as yet, apart from the usual random changes that occur from day to day. Hopefully further refinement on the use of pushed music on the site will have positive effects - at the very least we are increasing the au

We're Back with the Symphonies

I can't believe it has taken so long but we are finally there and two Beethoven Symphonies have been published. An early bird has already bought the first movement of the Fifth! The hubris of recording these wonderful pieces on new world instruments caused me to pause for some time but each time I listened to them I heard something new and the overall effect was so positive I have pressed ahead. Inevitably some of the machinery was a bit creaky after such little use - not least my memory for where I had put things. We also bought a new player which is taking a little time to bed in - not helped by browser quirks on this PC which refused to play them - sorted now! We're looking to develop the use of play lists as a way of promoting sales but there is a bit more work to do on that. The auto play of the excerpt from the first movement of Beethoven's 5th is a temporary celebration and will be replaced by a more controllable solution later this week. After the repair work