Happy New Year – A Look Back at 2008 for Playbsides.com

Last year at this time, I provided a year-end wrap up which included a breakdown of the statistics for playbsides.com. I’m fairly certain that I’m the only one who really is interested in this information, but still I want to capture it for posterity, if nothing else.

February 21st will be the third year for playbsides.com which is a feat in of itself I think.  Most of the “big” music blogs have been around for this long or longer, so that is pretty cool. I’m not sure how many people are regular readers– I have a handful that follow my site via RSS feed, but most folks come here via search engine by a large margin. Considering how many articles I’ve amassed here, it stands to reason that this will continue to be the norm.

2008 was a pretty big year for the website it seems. In 2007 we had 9,469 unique hits. We seemed to gain some very dramatic growth as we had 18,964  visits, with 16,651 of them being absolute unique visits accounting for 27,663 pageviews. The average visitor looked at 1.46 pages while they stopped by. I’d say this is supported by the fact that most of my traffic (66.42%) comes from search engines, so the average visitor would only be interested in the one article that was pertinent to the search result.

Speaking of search engines, google.com is still the top driver of traffic at 11,611 visits accounting for 61% of my overall traffic. My top keywords are “fender baritone” which is up from last year’s #2 position. Apparently people are very interested in that rather obscure guitar. At #2  is “Lindsey Buckingham Gift of Screws” amusingly enough. I have a handful of articles I’ve written over the last couple of years while Lindsey prepared that album and the prior Under the Skin which had a shared history in an unreleased album. Down to the #3 position from last year’s #1 is “play b.” Interestingly (and I say that understanding that you’ve bothered to read this far) the next five keywords were all variations on searching for the Fender Baritone guitars.

The top articles for 2008 were:

The homepage got 4,629 pageviews with 3,932 unique views. These stats are very similar to last year.

The second highest read article is not surprisingly the article on the Fender Baritone Jaguar at 2,429 unique pageviews– up from last year’s 1,754. The funny thing about this is that I seriously considered not selling this guitar last year just because of how popular this article is.

At number three is the article about the discontinued Fender Stratocaster Hard Tail at 2,156 unique page views.

At number four is the article I kept up-to-date providing the links to the freely-downloadable tracks for the new Pretenders album Break Up The Concrete at 1,414 unique page views. The popularity of this page is a testament of the power of mp3 crawlers like elbo.ws.  These mp3’s were “unveiled” once a week until the release of the album. The reason this article was popular was that no one else was keeping track of the prior-week’s downloads. A comment I would make is that most of the “internet PR” people don’t really understand how the Internet is used related to finding information and a lot of the neat opportunities for promotion are missed based on short-sighted planning like this.

In the third year of this blog I think I learned a lot about what kind of content is the stuff that people are interested in reading, and certainly what content is read most. As I look back on the year there were a lot of really interesting developments in the music industry and in some respects 2008 was sort of a turning point for the industry where it was taught some lessons– if not learned them. With news of the RIAA changing its tactics in prosecuting copyright violators one would hope that the approach to the music consumers would be one where the music industry would be more about getting the music to the fans in a format that they want than it is about holding on to old practices and ideas surrounding ownership. 2009 brings a US President that is a first in many important respects, but is also a President I think that represents the population more accurately when it comes to technology use– he was an avid Blackberry user, apparently he has a Zune (for whatever that means). His campaign was grassroots, but arguably won via a successful Internet campaign that he seemed to be very involved in orchestrating. Whether or not you agree with his positions on the political topics, he certainly is more like the people reading blogs like mine than the competing candidate was in my opinion. What this means for the country is anyone’s guess at this point, but I’m hopeful that we see more reasonable legislation when it comes to matters of intellectual property, copyrights and patents and social parity when it comes to availbility of technology and information.

What does 2009 mean to playbsides.com? Well, it probably means a site update. In a couple of weeks (or sooner) I’ll be introducing a new logo for the site– replacing or re-engineering the long-standing 45s picture above. I’ll continue to try to bring reviews of decent music– most of it will continue to be the somewhat obscure music I listen to– this is largely a factor of the major labels and now, large independent labels ignoring my very important, taste influencing, insanely great site– but really how many Radiohead and Death Cab reviews does the Internet need? 2009 will bring more of my “B-Sides in the Bins” articles, of course, as I plot my course to certain LP storage failure…

As always, thanks for stopping by and support your independent record retailer.