Saturday, 20 November 2010

Pilot Project 2

Well, we did it.

The Pilot Project site is streaming. And it's the morning after - one of those post-launch days. 

I've felt this way before, mostly when getting radio stations on the air. It's that succession of increasingly long and frantic days, making sure that all the bits come together, with adrenalin taking over to a ridiculous extent. Anybody who has worked in radio will know what I am talking about. But this was, if anything, more diverse, using a wider ranges of skills and disciplines. No matter: the West Midlands Pilot Project is now streaming live. If you want the background and the context of the site, it's detailed on this blog on the post immediately below this one, or you could go to the About pages on the site itself and check out the brilliant team that I am privileged to work with. But, really, what I'd love anyone reading this blog page to do is... to crawl all over the site, and then feed back to us, via this blog if you like. In fact, please do do this: let's make this a very public discussion. 

We have plans to develop from this most promising of starts; I hope to be able to realise these plans. The bottom line always was, and is now, that this site, and. hopefully in time, sister sites across the country will cherish and celebrate the talent that now emerges online, and feed this into the British Library New Music Network, stored permanently, for posterity.

Yes, the site undoubtedly has the potential to expose and promote our magnificent local talent, and, yes, it is a sign of the times that websites like this are now able to take on more of a role in exposing and championing this talent. And I do mourn the fact that most local radio has abandoned any sense of responsibility for taking this role on. But now that it is live, the changes and developments will be gradual, as we evaluate how we're doing so far. Remember, this is still an experiment and a test bed. We've just gone from phase two to phase three.

What's next? Oh, fixes, tweaks, software adjustments, editorial revisions, and planning, analysis, reports....

What's now? Play with this site. Enjoy. Talk it up. Tweet it, Facebook it. If you're a musician on it, let us know if it makes any difference.

It's worth noting that in our first six hours of live streaming, 36 % of visitors came from OUTSIDE the West Midlands. 25% from the UK, 11% from North America. So, hey, there is a minor promotional effect already. But I stress that this site is not built to directly promote new talent: it is meant to both record it and - especially locally, with the help of my magnificent team of curators - to celebrate it. No reason why those aims can't go hand in hand, though.

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