Many cities and communities around the country have some kind of portal for classical music, or the arts in general. Many of these portals are funded, if not initiated, by foundations, local arts service groups, or a consortium of classical music organizations.
The quality of these portals ranges from terrible to excellent, and interestingly it seems that funding isn’t necessarily correlated with quality.
With this in mind, I set out to build a classical music portal for Austin: ATXclassical.
Austin already has service group backed sites like NowPlayingAustin.com and commercial sites like Do512.com, not to mention features and listings from media companies like the Austin-American Statesman and the Austin Chronicle. Yet I thought there was still a place for a dedicated Austin-centric classical music website.
While all great sites, the choices and sheer volume of events listed on the abovementioned sites can sometimes be overwhelming. And typically, when classical music events compete with other cultural events, they don’t necessarily come out as the winners.
So I wanted to create a dedicated classical music site with a clear and uncluttered look at the classical music scene in Austin. There are still nearly 250 events listed!
The how was simple: I unleashed the power of WordPress. In the same manner I built the Chorus Austin website, I used a premium theme, some paid plugins and some customizations.
But it’s not a case of build it and they will come. No matter how much I like the uncluttered design and clarity of ATXclassical, event listings alone won’t get people to come to the site or more importantly return to the site.
Right now, I’m solely responsible for the content. And while I enjoy writing articles, I am not a journalist. Like I wrote in the site’s first article, I think of myself more as a cheerleader, rather than a journalist.
Over time, I’d love to get others involved. I’m particularly interested in seeing if I can get students (journalism majors, arts majors) involved in reviewing. And I’m very interested in partnering up with the local classical music presenters to find ways of spreading their good work (again, think cheerleader role).
In the end, there’s not a business plan or strategic plan behind the site. Yes, I have ads to cover the costs of running the site. Yes, I have a sense of where I want the site and the mission to go. But I think the key to all of this is passion. Passion for all elements involved: web, marketing and classical music.
Visit ATXclassical.org and let me know what you think.